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VI 



BULLET AND SHELL 



tDar a0 t\)t 0olMer saw it: 



CAMP, MARCH, AND PICKET; BATTLEFIELD AND BIVOUAC; 
PRISON AND HOSPITAL. 



BY 



GEO. F. WILLIAMS, 



OF THE 5TH AND I46TH REGIMENTS NEW-YORK VOLUNTEERS, AND WAR CORRESPONDENT 

WITH THE ARMY OF THE POTOMAC, THE ARMY OF THE SHENANDOAH, 

AND THE ARMY OF THE CUMBERLAND. 



Illustrated, 



FROM SKETCHES AMONG THE ACTUAL SCENES, 
BY 

EDWIN FORBES, 

PICTORIAL WAR CORRESPONDENT; AUTHOR OF LIFE-STUDIES FROM 

THE GREAT ARMY;" MEMBER OF THE FRENCH 

ETCHING CLUB. 



NEW YORK : 
FORDS, HOWARD, & HULBERT. 

1884. 



.X 



b 



COPYRIGHT, 1882, 
BY GEORGE F. WILLIAMS. 



All rif/hts reserved. 



jfranklm Press: 

RAND, AVERY, AND COMPANY, 
BOSTON. 



TO 

MY OLD COMRADES 

WHO CARRIED THE SWORD AND MUSKET 

IN THE FEDERAL ARMIES 
DURING THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR 



IS FRATERNALLY DEDICATED. 



M 5800 



PREFACE. 



time has conie when a story of the American Civil 
War may be written without prejudice or passion. The 
memories of that gigantic struggle have mellowed, the bitter 
ness of sectional feeling has died away; and men now view 
with clearer and calmer minds the issues which led to the 
conflict, and the motives governing its prosecution. The 
author of the following pages aims to present a faithful pic 
ture of scenes in camp and field, which, under the guise of 
fiction, will afford the new generation some idea of the tre 
mendous contest waged on this continent during the memor 
able years of 1861-65. T0* the veteran my book may be the 
means of recalling many pleasant reminiscences of the days 
when he carried the sword or the musket. In order to pre 
serve the unity of the narrative, I have taken an author s 
license in carrying the same regiment through the several 
campaigns from Big Bethel to Appomattox Hollow. My old 
comrades of the Army of the Potomac will find, however, 
that in this only have I departed from the actual course of 
events. G. F. W. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER PAOB 

I. BEGINNING OF THE QUARREL 11 

II. TAKING SIDES 22 

III. DEFINING POSITIONS . 32 

IV. A TRUCE 38 

V. THE HAND ON THE HILT 44 

VI. DRAWING THE BLADE 52 

VII. THROWING AWAY THE SCABBARD ...... 64 

VIII. BANDAGE AND LINT 77 

IX. A SAVAGE BOUT 90 

X. AGAIN IN HARNESS 106 

XI. A FEINT 123 

XII. FOREST STRATEGY 137 

XIII. A NIGHT OF TERROR 147 

XIV. BEATEN DOWN .157 

XV. A PAUSE 175 

XVI. MOVING TOWARDS BATTLE 187 

XVII. A NIGHT MARCH 196 

XVIII. CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE 203 

XIX. A MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE 218 

XX. A WONDERFUL CHARGE 225 

XXI. FACE TO FACE 243 

XXII. LOST AMONG THE DEAD 254 

XXIII. MOVING IN PURSUIT 263 

XXIV. AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD 272 

XXV. FENCING FOR AN OPENING 286 

XXVI. THE SCOUT S STORY 298 

XXVII. A CHANGE IN FORTUNE 323 

7 



8 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER 

XXVIII. CROSSING THE LINE . 

XXIX. THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED . 

XXX. RUNNING THE GAUNTLET . 

XXXI. To THE RESCUE 

XXXII. IN FRESH TOILS . 

XXXIII. BY MINE AND SAP 

XXXIV. IN FORT AND FIELD . 
XXXV. THE CORRESPONDENT S STORY 

XXXVI. DEATH OF A SPY 

XXXVII. A LAST EFFORT . 

XXXVIII. BEGINNING OF THE END . 

XXXIX. SMASHING THE TRAP . 

XL. LAYING DOWN THE SWORD 



PAGE 

338 
351 
360 
366 
373 
383 
391 
400 
411 
418 
426 
435 
444 



THE END 453 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



PAGE 

BRINGING UP A BATTEKY Frontispiece 

FRIENDLY FISHEKMEN 12 

THE END OF ARGUMENT 20 

THE MARSHALL HOMESTEAD 23 

FORT SUMTER BOMBARDED .... 46 

"STOP FIRING, YOU FOOLS, TILL YOU GET THE WORD ! " ... 58 

THE RETREAT FROM THE FIELD 61 

IN THE TRENCHES 67 

BESIEGING YORKTOWN 71 

THE DEAD SERGEANT S YELL 74 

REPORTING TO THE SURGEON 78 

"WE CAN T SELL TO SOLDIERS" 81 

A SURGICAL OPERATION FRUSTRATED 85 

CAPTURING A GUN, GAINES S MILL ....... 93 

THE IRISH BRIGADE TO THE RESCUE 95 

THE GUNBOATS IN THE JAMES RIVER 101 

GENERAL VIEW OF CAMPS, WARRENTON JUNCTION . . . .112 

PONTOON-LAYING FREDERICKSBURG 117 

REVIEW BY PRESIDENT LINCOLN FALMOUTH, OPPOSITE FREDERICKS- 
BURG 125 

THE MARCH TO CHANCELLORSVILLE 131 

CROSSING ELY S FORD, RAPID AN RIVER 135 

PASSING THE SLEEPING CORPS . . 145 

THE ROUT OF THE ELEVENTH CORPS, CHANCELLORSVILLE . . 151 

ARTILLERY GOING INTO ACTION 159 

BRINGING- OFF THE WOUNDED 166 

RETREAT ACROSS THE RAPPAHANNOCK, UNITED-STATES FORD . 169 

RETURN TO THE ABANDONED CAMPS AT FALMOUTH .... 174 



10 ILLUSTRATIONS. 

PAGE 

THE CONFEDERATE SPY 181 

THE CONFEDERATE GRAVE UNDER THE ROSES 193 

GENERAL SICKLES WOUNDED 209 

THE DYING ADJUTANT 213 

BUCKTAILS GOING INTO THE DEVIL S GLEN 216 

A COUNCIL OF WAR ON LITTLE ROUND TOP 233 

THE FINAL CHARGE AT GETTYSBURG 239 

RELIEVING THE WOUNDED 242 

" GOING FOR " THE REBEL SHARPSHOOTERS 246 

"GOOD-BY, TOM" 252 

LOST ON THE BATTLE-FIELD 258 

"A DRINK OF WATER, FOR GOD S SAKE !" 259 

" DEY S ALL DONE GONE, SAB ! " 270 

THE WINTER CAMP 287 

ARREST OF THE SPY 293 

THE CHASE 305 

BEFORE THE CONFEDERATE GENERAL 308 

MARCH OF THE CONFEDERATE ARMY INTO PENNSYLVANIA . . 312 

CROSSING THE RAPIDAN 325 

PASSING GRANT AND MEADE 329 

IN THE WILDERNESS 336 

GENERAL LEE AND THE PRISONER 340 

AMONG THE WOUNDED, CONFEDERATE HOSPITAL .... 346 

REVISITING THE WILDERNESS BATTLE-FIELD . . . . . 357 

AT THE WARRENTON HOTEL 362 

UNDER GUARD 377 

GOING TO CAMP UNDER FIRE 389 

FORAGING ON THE ENEMY 396 

GOING TO THE REAR WITH DISPATCHES 406 

GENERAL CUSTER AND THE SPY 415 

THE CONFEDERATES CAPTURE FORT STEADMAN 421 

TAKEN PRISONER AGAIN 433 

CAVALRY IN PURSUIT 445 

THE FLAG OF TRUCE 448 

LEE S SHATTERED ARMY 452 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



\ i 



CHAPTER I. 

BEGINNING OF THE QUARREL. 

" Between green fields and wooded heights, 
The river stretched at ease." 

IME, Summer. The year, 1860. Scene, the 
Valley of the Shenandoah, West Virginia. 

On a sudden bend of the river which lends 
its musical name to the beautiful valley, two 
young men are sitting in an old, weather- 
beaten, rudely fashioned punt, idly fishing. 
Though it is now long past the hour of 
noon, and the sun has already begun its 
downward course, the air is still warm and 
oppressive, even in the shadows thrown 
upon the rippling stream by the huge trees 
overhanging its banks. The curve of the 
river, where our fishermen have anchored their clumsy boat, 
is caused by the intrusive presence of a spur from the mas 
sive range of the Blue-Ridge Mountains, which form the 
eastern boundary of the valley. Indeed, so abrupt and sharp 
is the turn of the current just there, that the river seems to 
be completely hemmed in by the dense foliage creeping down 

M 




12 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



to the water s edge on every side. Behind the occupants of the 
boat the mountain spur towers in lofty grandeur, its rugged 
sides clothed to the very summit with dark masses of oak and 
pine, while half way up its jutting face a broad seam of almost 
naked rock stands out in most threatening fashion, as though 
about to fall that instant into the shallow water below. 

Beyond the fringe of trees on the opposite bank, in the shade 
of which the boat swings to its primitive anchor, wide fields of 
golden wheat jc^ri be discerned ; and as the breeze sets the grain 

in waving 
motion it also 
brings to the 
ears of these 
young men 
the loud and 
careless 
laughter o f 
the gangs of 
* negro field- 
hands, busily 
engaged in 
harvesting. 
An air of per- 
fect peace 

and plenty reigns over the romantic valley; and the entire 
scene is one of rare loveliness, combining as it does the bold 
mountain outline, the picturesque and winding river, the fertile 
fields, and the signs and tokens of successful husbandry. 

44 Well, Frank," exclaimed one of the young fishermen, as he 
impatiently jerked his line out of the water to rebait the hook, 
" I still contend the South is right." 

" And I insist that she is entirely in the wrong." 
"How can you do that consistently? We have a perfect 
right to claim that slavery must not be molested." 
"Who wants to molest it?" 




FRIENDLY FISHERMEN. 



BEGINNING OF THE QUAREEL. 13 

" The abolitionists, Garrison, Phillips, and the rest of that 
crew." 

"Every Northern man is not an abolitionist. Why con 
found a few enthusiasts, who are more or less fanatical in their 
ideas, with the great bulk of fair-minded men in the free 
States?" 

44 I don t. But you can not deny that the sentiment in favor 
of abolishing slavery is gaining ground in the North. Why, 
you yourself are at heart almost an abolitionist;" and the 
speaker laughed disdainfully as he spoke. 

" Perhaps so. I scarcely know, myself." 

" To take away our slaves would be an act of tyranny. The 
South would not submit to such oppression." 

" Tyranny and oppression ? Those are hard words, Tom." 

44 They are the only ones I can use." 

" How do you make that out ? " 

44 Why, when the people of the North try to force us to give 
up our slaves, they act tyrannically and oppressively." 

44 We don t ask you to give up your slaves. We only say 
you shall not take them into the Territories, and so create new 
slave States. You seek to extend slavery. We want to keep 
it within its present bounds. There is no tyranny in that." 

44 Isn t there ? Why shouldn t we take our slaves into the 
Territories ? " 

44 Because slavery is really a curse to the country, Tom." 

44 That is a bitter phrase, Frank." 

44 Not more so than your talk of oppression and tyranny." 

44 But the new Territories belong as much to the South as to 
the North." 

44 Granted ! yet why should you seek to import slaves into 
them ? " 

44 To till the soil, of course, and so enrich the nation." 

44 Do you mean to tell me, Tom, that you consider the South 
ern slaves a source of national wealth ? " 

44 Certainly I do. What else are they? The millions upon 



14 BULLET AND SHELL. 

millions of dollars invested in our slaves represent so much 
property, just as your farmers horses and cattle do." 

" Good Lord, Tom ! you don t compare the slaves to horses 
or cattle?" 

" Yes, I do." 

" Yet you would go to war to retain them ? " 

" Why not ? Wouldn t the farmers in the free States think 
twice before giving up their live stock?" 

"The cases are not parallel at all." 

" Oh, of course not ! You Northerners will never admit 
any thing." 

" I can not admit that, because slave labor is really expensive 
to the South." 

" How so ? " 

" It s very simple. Your slaves are naturally indolent. They 
need constant supervision to keep them at their tasks, and even 
then don t half work. Then, again, you can not discharge a 
slave as you would an incompetent or worthless workman." 

" We can sell him." 

" Yes ; and that is what makes slavery a curse. This con 
stant barter in human flesh is horrible." 

" Slavery has flourished since the beginning of the world." 

"So has heathenism. Is that any reason why we should go 
back to worshiping idols ? " 

" Oh ! if you are going to drag religion into the discussion, I 
am done." 

" I don t want to drag it in. Look at the Roman empire : 
slavery was one of the elements of its rain." 

" That was partly because the slaves were pampered, and 
rose against their masters." 

" And you expect that your slaves will never rise against 
you?" 

"Now, see here, Frank: I ve heard enough of that sort of 
thing. No doubt the North would rejoice to see the blacks 
revolt." 



BEGINNING OF THE QUARREL. 15 

" There you are wrong again. But the time must come 
when the negroes will strike for their freedom." 

"You talk like a regular border-ruffian, Frank. Why don t 
you go out there, and wear big boots, a red shirt, and a brace 
of revolvers? 

" Well, I do sympathize with those border men in their 
efforts to keep the soil of Kansas free from the taint of slavery." 

" Oh, confound you and your taint ! " exclaimed Tom angrily. 
" But there s no use arguing any more about it. When we 
men of the South and the North once get to talking politics, 
we invariably lose our tempers." 

" Speak for yourself, Tom, please," replied his companion in 
a quieter tone. " I am sure I have not lost my temper, even 
though I do not agree with you." 

" But you Yankees never will give in, no matter how con 
vincing the argument may be." 

"Why do you call me a Yankee, as though it were a 
reproach ? If it comes to that, Tom, you re as much a Yankee 
as I am." 

" Ha, ha ! No, you don t, master Frank," retorted the first 
speaker in a merrier tone: "you can t call me a Yankee, even 
though I did matriculate under the elms of dear old Yale. 
No, sir : I m a true Southerner, born and bred, and, I ll admit, 
at times a hot-tempered one too , while }^ou are as cold as the 
granite hills of your native State." 

" Oh ! I can be hot-tempered enough on occasion," replied 
the other. " I simply object to being called a Yankee in a 
reproachful sense, that is all." 

" All right, Frank : I won t do it again. Hullo ! by Jove I 
that was a bite in earnest," ejaculated Tom, pulling up his line 
again, and looking ruefully at his despoiled hook. 

While these young men continue their pleasant pastime, and 
patch up their brief political quarrel as best they may, let us 
learn more about them. 

Tom Marshall prides himself on being the descendant of an 



16 BULLET AND SHELL. 

old Virginia family, and as such a true son of the sunny South. 
Though still on the threshold of manhood, he is full of that 
passionate love for his section so noticeable among men of his 
age and class. Like all young Southerners at the time, Tom 
had already taken a deep interest in the political issues of the 
day ; and, though he failed to understand their entire scope and 
import, he at all times expressed the wildest devotion to the 
South in general and his native State in particular. It is not 
my purpose here to discuss the question whether Tom was 
right or wrong ; for that matter seems to have been settled long, 
long ago, and in a way that we all now deplore and strive to 
forget. I merely mention the fact to explain much that is to 
come, and as an indication of the young man s character. Tall 
and sinewy, Tom Marshall is handsome in feature, and a gen 
tleman by instinct as well as by breeding. Unlike most men 
of Southern birth, Tom had finished his education within 
the walls of a Northern college, Yale, as the reader has 
already learned from his own lips. But, despite his contact 
and association with young men of the North, he had left 
college as intensely sectional in political sentiment as when 
he first entered. Indeed, he expressed himself as more eager 
than before to devote his energies to the interests of his beloved 
South, showing how strong and abiding are the lessons learned 
in boyhood. 

Tom s companion need now only be described as a stripling 
of twenty, fair complexioned, quite tall for his years, and pos 
sessing a tolerable share of good-humor. He, too, is a Yale 
man, though not yet entirely released from study ; and he was 
born in a pretty little village in New Hampshire. Tom and 
Frank had become warm friends in college ; and the latter is 
now spending a part of his vacation with the Marshalls, whose 
plantation forms a prominent landmark in the valley. In fact, 
Frank Wilmot is your humble servant ; and, as I shall have 
frequent occasion hereafter to speak of myself, the less said 
now about me the better. 



BEGINNING OF THE QUARREL. 17 

A native of the North, and taught to view the course of 
public events from a widely different standpoint from that occu 
pied by Tom Marshall, it was not surprising that I differed 
with him. True, neither of us knew much about the real 
merits of the grave questions we were discussing; but we 
thought we did, being therefore honest in our dispute, unwise 
and useless as it was. 

Already had the two great sections of the country become 
arrayed against each other in thought and word ; and men on 
both sides of the geographical line were anxiously looking for 
ward to the approaching presidential election, for all felt that 
with it would come a momentous crisis in the nation s history. 
For years had the struggle been going on, until it had now 
reached a stage when some decisive action might be looked for. 
The result none could forecast, so cloudy and uncertain had 
the political horizon become. It was quite natural, therefore, 
that Tom and I should thus drift into a discussion ; for, boys 
though we were, we considered ourselves men, like many a 
young fool before us. 

Tom had proved himself a stanch friend in more ways than 
one. Indeed, much of the success I had achieved at Yale was 
due to his aid and counsel. Our friendship had been begun by 
his espousal of my side of a petty quarrel, simply because he 
deemed the odds against me. From that hour we had been 
like brothers ; and I had now spent several happy weeks with 
him, enjoying the picturesque scenery for which his native 
valle} 7 - is deservedly famous. 

Tom quietly re-baited his hook, and we continued to fish in 
silence. The sunshine left us, the shadows of the trees grew 
longer, the air became cooler, and a deep silence fell upon the 
scene. Even the mountain above our heads seemed softer and 
less rugged in its massive outlines, now that it no longer stood 
in the fierce glare of the noonday sun. But despite the deli 
cious beauty of the landscape, and the rapidity with which we were 
now pulling up the unwary fish, both Tom and I felt ill at ease. 



18 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Having fidgeted on his seat for several minutes, Tom at 
length broke the silence, exclaiming, 

" Oh, hang it, Frank ! I can t stand this sort of thing any 
longer. Why should we quarrel ? I m sorry we have such 
conflicting ideas about these matters." 

"I m as sorry as yourself, Tom. We have been so like 
brothers ever since we first met, it seems hard to have a differ 
ence at this late day." 

"Well, it can t be helped now, I suppose. But, Frank, you 
may depend on one thing : if the South does strike for liberty, 
I am with and for her, to the death if necessary." 

" Liberty ! You seem to think the South has none." 

" Think ! I know it ! Don t you want- to rob us of our slaves? " 

" Gradual emancipation would not be robbery." 

" And when the slaves were free you would give them the 
right to vote, I suppose." 

" In time possibly." 

" By Heaven, Frank ! you go too far. As if we Southerners 
would permit a nigger to vote ! Better to secede at once." 

" Secede ! What ! Leave the Union ? " 

" Yes, break away for ever." 

" But you have no right to secede." 

"Haven t we? Every State is a sovereign to herself. If 
she is dissatisfied she can withdraw from the confederation, and 
govern her own affairs." 

"I deny it. States are sovereigns on local questions only. 
They can not sever the tie which binds them together." 

" You forget we are talking of the whole South, not one soli 
tary State. If we secede we shall go out in a body." 

" And you really believe that ? " 

" Believe it ! I know it. It s our only policy." 

" But the free States will not allow you to secede." 

"How are you going to stop us? The Southern people have 
plenty of sympathizers in the North. Your politicians are 
divided." 



BEGINNING OF THE QUARREL. 19 

f 

" Politicians do not rule this country." 

" They have a good deal to say, at all events ; " and Tom 
laughed sarcastically. 

" Mere talk does not affect the destinies of a nation. Once 
let the people understand that the supremacy of the general 
government is in peril, and the political wire-pullers will be 
swept away like chaff before the wind." 

"You are growing eloquent, Frank." 

" Perhaps I am. But suppose we let you go peaceably. The 
South couldn t take any of the disputed territory with her." 

" We could at least fight for it." 

" That is just what might be expected : first secede, and 
then go to war for more territory. It would be far better for 
the North to fight first, and so keep you in the Union." 

" Yes, and give us an abolitionist for President. We want 
no Fre monts or Lincolns to rule us." 

" The President is not a ruler." 

" Well, Frank, all I can say is, that the South will never 
tolerate a President who is opposed to her interests." 

" I guess the South will have to take the President selected 
by the people." 

" Will she ? You wait and see. If that Hoosier rail-splitter 
is elected, there will be war, sure : that is, if the North really 
will fight." Here Tom again laughed in a sneering way that 
made me angry. 

" Do you think us all cowards, then ? " I asked hotly. 

" Oh ! I won t say that," replied Tom indolently. " But I 
don t suppose the horny-handed sons of toil, as they call 
themselves, will be very ready." 

"And why not? Look at Mexico. Didn t our regiments 
fight gallantly at Cerro Gordo, and Chapultepec, and Buena 
Vista? During the Revolution, were the men of New England 
inferior to those of Virginia or South Carolina ? " 

"But in the Revolution they fought against tyranny, just 
as we will if the North persists in its present course." 



20 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



"Armed secession will be rebellion." 

"You are very amusing, Frank. That was what King 
George and his Parliament called it when the colonies drew 
the sword. But when the colonies were victorious, our rebel 
forefathers, became patriots." 

" And you would give up your heritage to the blessings won 
by the Revolution ? " 

" Yes. If we are to lose our rights as sovereign States, there 
is no other course open to us." 

" Say no more," I replied. " It is quite certain we can 
never agree upon any of these political questions." 

"So it 
seems, more s 
the pity," 
said Tom 
gloomily. 

" It s a pity 
indeed ; but 
i=* you see, old 
fellow, we 
have been 
taught to 
view these 
things so dif 
ferently, we can not help being in antagonism, however un 
willingly. Still I feel, Tom, that, though we may hereafter 
be separated by political sentiment, we shall never be real 
enemies." 

"Of course not. If war does come, there will be but few 
personal hatreds involved. It will be purely a struggle for 
principle." 

" Well, well, let us drop it now," said I. " My heart revolts 
at the thought of war. They say it will be a civil one, but I 
suspect there will be precious little civility about it." 

" You don t suppose we Southerners fancy war to be a 




!C? - i j 



THE END OF ARGUMENT. 



BEGINNING OF THE QUAEREL. 21 

pleasant pastime, do you ? " exclaimed Tom contemptuously. 
" There will not be much fun about it, I imagine, for either 
side, but plenty of hard knocks." 

" There, there ! Let s put an end to this useless argument. I 
am sick of it." As I spoke I jumped to my feet, and began pull 
ing up the stone which had anchored our boat in the stream. 

" You re right," replied Tom as he took the oars, and rowed 
in toward the river-bank. " It s useless talking now. Let us 
hope, that, after all, there will be no need of any fighting." 

" Amen to that, with all my heart ! " I exclaimed, leaping 
ashore. 



22 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER II. 



TAKING SIDES. 



T" 

"Beware 

Of entrance to a quarrel; but being in, 

Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee." 

TANDING on a high expansive knoll, in the 
center of the plantation, the Marshall home 
stead formed a prominent feature in the land 
scape ; the estate extending from the river to 
the main road leading to Winchester. The 
house itself, like most old Virginia mansions, 
was irregular in plan and outline. A wide 
piazza ran along the entire front of the quaint 
old building, which, being of unpainted wood, 
had acquired a pure gray tinge that softened 
the otherwise rude aspect of the rambling 
structure, and made it harmonize delightfully 
with the foliage of the giant walnut-trees which dotted the 
lawn and shaded the road. 

The doors and windows in the old house appeared to have 
been pierced at random, as though each successive generation 
had striven to increase their number, regardless of the lack of 
symmetry which was the result. This impression was, however, 
dispelled on gaining the interior, for then it was seen that each 
had its proper use ; though the new-comer found himself non 
plused by the confused arrangement of the various rooms and 
passages, for they were a perfect labyrinth. 

That the house was of great age, was shown by a bit of bare 




TAKING SIDES. 25 

log wall visible through the broken plaster at the back of the 
wide hall. In fact, the mansion had gradually grown from 
rude beginnings to its present dimensions, as the ancestors of 
the Marshalls increased in wealth and importance. It had 
always been a house famous for generous hospitality in the 
olden days, when the Marshalls had served their king in 
colonial times, or taken an active part in the subsequent revolt 
against him. Indeed, Tom usually grew eloquent whenever he 
related any of the romantic traditions clinging to the history 
of the family. The old spirit of hospitality still reigned in the 
mansion, and guests were entertained with a heartiness that 
was delightful for its simplicity. 

Down in a hollow behind the house stood the immense barns ; 
while beyond these were the negro-quarters, now vocal with the 
sound of many voices, as the field-laborers came trooping home 
ward. Round the homestead itself numerous house-servants 
flitted to and fro, getting into each other s way with that facility 
so peculiar to the negro race. 

I had often experienced a warm sense of delight in these 
picturesque details of a happy and peaceful home ; but in my 
present mood I found no pleasure in the familiar picture, as 
Tom and I walked silently up the road, after leaving the narrow 
path that led from the river through the standing wheat in the 
fields. 

" There s that fellow Ned Charlton ! " exclaimed Tom, looking 
back, and listening to the sharp clatter of a horse s hoofs on 
the macadamized highway. " I wish he would not come here 
so often." 

"Don t you like him?" 

" Like him ! What ! a braggart like that ? You should know 
me better, Frank, than to ask such a question," replied Tom in 
a surprised tone of voice. 

" He claims to be a gentleman, I believe." 

" Claims ! yes ; and that s as near as he will ever get," 
retorted Tom with a sneer on his lips. 



26 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Bin fishing, gentlemen ? " exclaimed the new-comer, as he 
suddenly reined up beside us. " Had a good time? " 

" Yes : we ve been on the river," replied Tom indifferently ; 
" but it was too hot for comfortable fishing." 

"So I should jedge; but I dunno much bout fishing, myself. 
I m fonder of a good horse than lines and fish-hooks ; " and 
the speaker laughed in a disdainful way, as he glanced at our 
angling-tackle. 

"If you call riding a horse to death on a broiling sum 
mer s day being fond of him," I remarked, " you show it 
pretty thoroughly. Why, the poor brute is in a perfect 
foam." 

" He s got good blood in him, sir, and as such is fit to be a 
gentleman s horse," replied Charlton angrily. 

" Oh ! you need not show your own temper, sir, to prove your 
horse s pedigree. The animal is a good one, I admit : so much 
the more reason why he should be well treated." 

"Mr. Wilmot is quite right about the beast," said Tom. 
" And you re over-fond of picking a quarrel, Charlton. It 
don t speak well for your own breeding. But get off your 
horse : I see my sister coming." 

Charlton obeyed the hint, but as he leaped from his saddle he 
and I exchanged menacing glances. Ever since we first met, 
an involuntary spirit of antagonism had sprung between us. 
Half-educated, and insolent in his ignorance, Charlton had inva 
riably displayed an arrogance towards me that was insuffer 
able ; and this, perhaps, had something to do with my unasked 
criticism on his riding. Overbearing in his manner, and an 
arrant boaster, he presented a type of character which con 
trasted strangely with the innate courtliness and modesty of 
Tom Marshall ; yet it was of a class by no means rare in the 
South at the time. Constantly proclaiming himself to be a 
gentleman, Charlton betrayed his true character by every word 
and act. I had, therefore, no reason to admire the fellow. 
His presence just now was distasteful to both Tom and myself; 



TAKING SIDES. 27 

for we had been strangely moved by our political discussion, 
and were in no mood to tolerate him. 

"What s the matter here?" demanded a musical voice. 
" You look as if you had all been quarreling." 

" Oh ! it s nothing, Kate," replied Tom hurriedly. " Frank 
and I have been talking politics : that s all." 

" Politics ! so you have caught that fever too, have you ? It 
seems to be a perfect epidemic just now ; " and the girl laughed 
ironically as she turned to accompany us homeward. 

" There has been no quarrel, Miss Marshall," said I some 
what stiffly. " Tom and I could not agree just now ; because, 
you know, we come from different sections. He belongs to the 
South, I to the North. It s only natural for us to hold diverse 
opinions on the issues of the day." 

" I s pose, sir, you think we Southern gentlemen must submit 
to the dictates of the Northern mudsills," exclaimed Charlton 
scornfully. 

" I ve no desire to discuss the question with you," I replied 
testily. "And I object to your sneers at the people of the 
Northern States. There are as many gentlemen there as here, 
a fact you might discover if you were a judge in such mat 
ters." 

" Jedge, sir ! What do you mean ? Do you dare ? " 

"Dare! Dare what?" 

"You don t mean to say, Mr. Wilmot," interrupted Tom s 
sister, "that you think the South is wrong in asserting her 
rights of sovereignty ? Do you really mean that ? " and as she 
spoke the girl stood still, her dark eyes wide open in unaffected 
wonder. 

"Ha, ha!" laughed Tom. "That s right, Kate: give it to 
him. I say, Frank, that was a shot you didn t expect." 

" * beg your pardon, Miss Marshall : I scarcely know what 
to say." 

" Give me a plain answer to my question, if you please. Do 
you think us Southern people wrong, or not?" persisted the 



28 BULLET AND SUELL. 

wayward beauty, a big frown passing over her brow like a 
cloud. 

" Well, if you mean an assertion of rights on certain issues, 
and an appeal to arms in their support, such as Tom talks 
about, I do certainly think them in the wrong. But, really, 
these are questions I do not care to discuss with a lady." 

"Let me tell you, Mr. Wilmot," retorted the defiant girl, 
tossing her head imperiously as she spoke, " let me tell you, 
sir, that we women of the South are heart and hand with our 
brothers and fathers on this question, as you men of the North 
may perhaps find out to your cost one of these days." 

" Oh ! come now, Kate," said her brother good-naturedly, but 
at the same time giving his sister an admiring look for her 
words, " you re altogether too hard on poor Wilmot. You must 
remember that he has a right to his own opinions : besides, he 
does not wish any further discussion ; do you, Frank ? " 

" The whole subject is distasteful to me. First I am involved 
in a wretched dispute with my dearest friend, and now I find 
his sister apparently my bitterest enemy. Upon my word, I 
now begin to believe there will be a war." 

And, as I uttered the last words, I bowed ceremoniously to 
the haughty girl beside me. 

" There seems no help for it," said Tom sadly. " The sooner 
the struggle comes, the better it will be for us all. This sus 
pense and dread of the future is the hardest to bear. But here 
we are at the house : so clear up that frowning face of yours, 
Kate. It won t do to let the governor see how we have been 
badgering his guest , " and Tom again laughed as he unfastened 
the gate opening on the lawn, and his sister passed in. 

" For my part, I hope there will be a war," remarked Charl- 
ton, " if it s only for a chance to teach you Yankees a lesson." 

"If lessons are the order of the day," I replied hotly, "a 
few in politeness would do you no harm, my fine gentleman." 

" What do you mean ? Do you wish to insult me ? " 

"Take it as you will. I m quite indifferent as to that." 



TAKING SIDES. 29 

" Oh, here ! this won t do," exclaimed Tom impatiently. 
" You forget we are on the lawn, and the governor may hear 
you. No more of this folly, or I shall quarrel with you both 
in earnest. You must be on your good behavior here, gentle 
men." 

Charlton and I nodded in silence, and followed Tom towards 
the piazza where his father was quietly smoking his corn-cob 
pipe. 

" Ah, boys ! been fishing again, I see," said Mr. Marshall as 
we came within hearing. " I should think you would have 
tired of the sport by this time. If you keep at it much longer 
you will not leave a single fish in the river for the darkies." 

" Not much fear of that, sir," replied Tom, as he threw down 
his pole and string of fish. " That Pomp and Csesar of ours 
would find bites for their bait if we fished till Christmas. Let 
them alone for that." 

"You re right, Tom. Those two boys know a great deal 
more about the ways of the river than they do of work in the 
fields, confound them ! Pomp, you black rascal, you know 
you do," and Mr. Marshall pretended to kick at a grinning 
negro boy who was squatting on the steps at his feet. 

" He ! he ! Spect we does, Marse John. Dat s a fac ," said 
Pomp, as he rolled down the steps in a convulsion of laughter. 
" But, Marse John, sumbodder s got to fish de ribber besides 
young Marse Frank and young Marse Tom, dar, or de fish dey 
done run away wid de ribber, dare git to be so many ob 
em." 

44 Get out, you young rascal," cried the old gentleman. " See 
that you and Caesar are out in the field, down by the willows, 
in the morning with the rest of the gang, or I ll give you some 
thing you won t forget in a hurry." 

" Dat all right, Marse John : I ll be down dar in de field for 
shuah, less Missy Kate she done sen me to de Ferry for dem 
books o her n, an I spect she will," responded Pomp, grinning 
as if he intended splitting his face from ear to ear in the effort. 



30 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" You should have gone for them to-day, Pomp," remarked 
Kate. " I told you to go this morning." 

" Couldn t go way down to de Ferry when de missy she tole 
me to take Marse Tom him lunshon ! Couldn t do de two 
t ings at de wunst, nohow," muttered the negro as he scratched 
his woolly pate confusedly. 

" That s always the way with those two boys, Mr. Wilmot," 
said Mr. Marshall, knocking the ashes from his exhausted pipe. 
"They re more bother to me than all the rest of my hands." 

" I m afraid, sir, it s partly your own fault," I replied. " You 
never insist on their tasks being performed promptly ; and the 
boys, as you call them, have studied your nature so well, they 
know just how far they can impose upon your good-humor." 

" Quite true ; but it can not be helped now, for I m too old to 
change, and they re young yet." 

"True Virginny ways, sah," began Charlton in his usual 
swaggering manner. " We gentlemen of the South are always 
kind to our niggahs." 

" Not always, Mr. Charlton," replied Mr. Marshall. " I wish 
they were." 

" Oh ! if the niggahs do get a taste of the lash now and then, 
they generally deserve it. It s the only way to keep them 
in order." 

" Indeed ! It s a wonder you don t get a little of it once in a 
while : you need it," I said, glad of an excuse to annoy him. 

" Me, sir ! me flogged ! " he gasped. " Why, I m a gentle 
man, sir." 

"So you are always saying. You seldom say any thing else," 
I retorted wickedly. 

" Gentlemen ! I m surprised to hear you speak thus. One 
would almost think that you had been quarreling," said Mr. 
Marshall. 

" Oh ! it s only sectional feeling, as Frank calls it, sir," replied 
Tom, laughing in evident sympathy with me in my thrusts at 
Charlton. 



TAKING SIDES. 31 

" Indeed ! So }^ou young people have been discussing poli 
tics ? I m sorry to know it, for that is a dangerous topic in 
times like these. But I had forgotten : here s a letter for you, 
Mr. Wilmot. One of the boys brought it over from Winches 
ter ; " and the old gentleman handed me an envelope that had 
lain unnoticed on the railing. 

" Read it after supper, Frank," said Tom, leading the way 
up the broad steps. " Here comes mother, and there goes the 
gong. Come, or the butter-cakes will spoil, and I m so 
hungry ! " 



32 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER III. 



DEFINING POSITIONS. 

" Policy wills some seeming cause be had, 
To make that good which justice knows for bad." 

AVE you forgotten, my dear boy, that the time for 
your going back to college is drawing near, and 
that we have not yet seen you ? I am a little jeal 
ous of your Virginian friends, they are keeping my 
son so long from me. Come home soon, dear 
Frank, there s a good boy ..." 

Thus wrote my mother in the letter I had 
received; and as I sat at my window, and 
watched the evening shadows gather in the 
valley, my thoughts went back to the dear old 
village, and the loved ones waiting there for 
me. My mother was right: I had indeed over- 
staid the limits of my visit to Tom and his family. As I sat 
thinking over the events of the day, a strange feeling of unrest 
filled my heart. This hateful sectional antagonism seemed, all 
at once, to have rudely separated Tom and me. 

Realizing the fact with grief and surprise, I resolved to obey 
my mother s summons, and leave, perchance for ever, the scenes 
marked by so much past pleasure and present pain. 

For a moment I hesitated, and then, obeying a sudden 
impulse, rushed down-stairs to the piazza, where I hurriedly 
announced my intention of leaving on the morrow. 

Tom was loud in his protests and disapproval of my decision. 
" Why, you forget, Frank," he exclaimed, " we were to go 




DEFINING POSITIONS. 33 

to Winchester to-morrow, and the next day to Martinsburg. 
Surely a few days more will make no difference." 

"I must go, Tom. You know I have remained with you 
longer than I at first intended. Now my mother calls me 
home, and I shall obey. She has been very patient at my long 
absence." 

" I can sympathize with your mother, Mr. Wilmot," said Mrs. 
Marshall. " I have been so happy in having my son and his 
friend with me, that I forgot there were other mothers in the 
world besides myself." 

" But, mother," persisted Tom, " why should he run off so 
suddenly ? It s not like you, Frank." 

" I am loth to go, Tom," said I ; " for I have been very 
happy here. But I owe some attention to my mother." 

" Your words are good and honest, Mr. Wilmot ; and they 
prove you are as good a son as my Tom," remarked Mrs. Mar 
shall, gazing fondly at her boy lolling on the railing, his hand 
some face disfigured by a look of discontent. 

" Oh ! since you take Frank s part, mother, I shall say no 
more. Your word has always been law in this house." 

"I am sorry you are going away so suddenly, Mr. Wil 
mot," said Mr. Marshall, leading me away from the group. 
"Tom has been telling his mother and me of the foolish, 
unwise argument on the river, and also of Kate s saucy at 
tack upon you. I trust, sir, these idle words among you 
young people have had no influence towards this determina 
tion to leave us." 

" I must confess, sir, they have ; though my mother s call is 
the strongest motive. I deeply regret these political differ 
ences, but it seems impossible for Tom and me to reconcile 
them." 

" Ah ! Frank, you are too young, and so is Tom, to clearly 
understand the troubles and dangers which threaten us. I am 
not as fierce, perhaps, as some of my neighbors, in asserting 
what they term the rights of the South ; for I can see, what 



34 BULLET AND SHELL. 

many do Dot, that if these claims are persisted in we shall 
eventually be placed in belligerent opposition to the govern 
ment. If the ball of contention is once set rolling, God only 
knows where or when it will stop." 

"Let us hope, sir, that it will not come to that pass, I 
replied. 

" J am sorry I can not indulge in such a hope,* 1 said the old 
gentleman sadly. " The current of events is too strong, and 
the passion of political strife already too bitter, to permit my 
entertaining it. When you go home, Mr. Wilmot, please re 
member, that, though we men of the South may go into a war 
with the Northern States, many of us will do so with sad and 
heavy hearts ; though honestly determined to do our best to 
win in the struggle, once it is fairly begun/ 

"I prefer not to think of it at all," I exclaimed impetuously. 
"It seems like a hideous dream, this possibility of a war." 

" Hideous indeed. But it is far from being a dream : the 
dread reality will soon be upon us, I fear." 

" And do you too believe a war is coming ? " 

"I see that there is great danger of one." 

"But why?" 

" Because the temper of the Southern people, just now, is 
such, they will not submit to see Lincoln made president. I 
know you -will say that he can not be elected unless the Demo 
crats, North and South, persist, as they threaten, in dividing 
their strength on rival candidates ; but the division of that 
party is mainly due to the growing antagonism between the 
two sections of the country." 

"How?" 

" The Democrats of the North and the South can no longer 
agree on great national questions. And as neither side will 
give way, a hopeless division is the natural result." 

" And because they can not agree on a candidate for the presi 
dency, we are to have civil war ? That seems strange." 

" Not at all. If the new party the Republicans elect 



DEFINING POSITIONS. 36 

their candidate by a plurality vote, as they must, he will not be 
the choice of a majority of the whole people. Therefore the 
Southern States will ask for permission to withdraw, and form 
their own government." 

" That seems to me very childish. Because the South can not 
have its own way all the time, it refuses to be bound by the 
laws and precedents it helped to make and adopt." 

" Very true. I grant you, it will only be a pretext. But the 
Southern leaders are reckless and desperate, and will eagerly 
avail themselves of that excuse for want of a better one." 

" One would scarcely suppose from your words, Mr. Mar 
shall, that you were a Southerner." 

" I presume not. I speak thus candidly to you, Mr. Wilmot, 
because I know I can trust you. I m an old man now, and 
love my country and my State too well not to see the dangers 
that threaten us. One of my brothers fought under Taylor in 
Mexico, and fell at Palo ^Ito ; while an uncle of mine partici 
pated in the last war with Great Britain. I should regret to 
see my son compelled to fight against the flag they both served 
under." 

"Compelled?" 

"Yes, compelled. Tom is a son of the South, and a Vir 
ginian. If his State secedes, as seems very probable, he must 
obey her sovereignty, and take up arms in her defense. There 
is no help for it." 

" That question of State rights was one of the very things 
Tom and I could not agree upon." 

" Of course not. It is one of the vital issues of the day. 
Upon it hinges the integrity or the dissolution of the Union. 
Men everywhere are divided upon it. Even here in Virginia 
we are not all of one mind in regard to it." 

" Tom says the South is afraid the North will attempt to 
abolish slavery." 

" Wiser and older men than he believe the same thing ; 
and with good reason, I fear." 






36 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"Just because the North will not consent to see slavery 
extended into the new Territories ? " 

" Precisely. Don t you see that that very denial as to the 
Territories is the entering wedge towards complete aboli 
tion?" 

" But is slavery worth a war ? " 

" Ah ! Frank, there you touch on the very marrow of the 
entire question. The prosperity of the South rests on her 
slaves. What would we be without them ? " 

" The free States are prosperous with free labor. * 

" Yes. But we need the negroes : if they were once free 
we should be without laborers." 

" If freed, the negro would have to work for his own support 
and that of his family, just as the white man does in the 
North." 

" You forget they have always been slaves, consequently 
shiftless. Set them free, and they will not know how to 
accommodate themselves to the new state of affairs. They 
are not accustomed to take care of themselves." 

" So much the worse for the system which made them so." 

" Quite right. I am not defending the system, though I am 
a slaveholder. But we have the slaves: why deprive us of our 
only resource ? why not let well enough alone ? " 

Before I could reply, Tom approached us. 

" What are you two talking so earnestly about?" he asked. 

"We are discussing politics, Tom," replied his father, "just 
as you and Mr. Wilmot did this afternoon. He tells me your 
dispute is one of his reasons for leaving us." 

"Indeed ! " exclaimed Tom. " Why, Frank, I did not think 
you so easily angered. We had no quarrel, though you and 
Charlton came precious near having one." 

" I am not angry, Tom ; but I feel that we are no longer the 
same warm, fast friends we were before we fell into that hate 
ful argument." 

" Nonsense ! We do not agree, it is true, on certain ques- 



DEFINING POSITIONS. 37 

tions, owing to our different education ; but we are not enemies 
quite yet, I take it. * 

"No, thank God ! we can never be that. Still, Tom, I wish 
to go away now, because I feel that I shall be exposed to mis 
apprehension if I stay." 

" He is right, Tom," said Mr. Marshall. " Once the ques 
tion of politics is touched upon in critical times like these, it is 
sure to lead to grave misunderstandings. I would fain see you 
and your friend part amicably while you may. He belongs to 
one section of this unhappy country, you to another. You can 
not agree, so it is better that you part until happier and quieter 
times come to us." 

" Indeed, sir, I shall always consider Tom a true friend," 
said I. 

"Just my feeling," exclaimed Tom, clasping my hand. 

" That s right, my boys. Whatever happens hereafter, keep 
your boyhood friendship green in your hearts. It will be a 
pleasant memory to you both as you grow older." 

" I promise you, sir, I shall do so," said I. 

"And so do I," cried Tom heartily. "But come, governor, 
let s go in : the dew is beginning to fall. 



38 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER IV. 



A TKUCE. 

" Nature I ll court in her sequestered haunts, 
By mountain, streamlet, grove, or cell." 

S the sun rose bright and clear the following 
morning, it found me already up, busily en 
gaged in preparations for my journey. I had 
often thought of a pedestrian trip to Washing 
ton, crossing the Blue Ridge into the London 
Valley, thence through Aldie Gap to Centre- 
ville, a route described by Tom as exceedingly 
beautiful and interesting. I accordingly de 
cided to go home that way, feeling that the 
tramp over the mountains would do me good. 
On making this announcement over night, Mr. 
Marshall decided to send the boy Pompey to 
Harper s Ferry with my baggage, while I was to shoulder my 
knapsack and trudge through the Gaps. 

Tom was to accompany me as far as the foot of the range : so 
after a hearty breakfast, and a kind farewell to his parents, we 
set out together. 

As he and I swung off at a rapid pace, on entering the road 
to the mountain-gap, we found the morning air deliciously cool 
and fragrant. The warm rays of the rising sun had already set 
the heavy mists in motion on the mountains ; though they still 
clung to the peaks and lingered in the notches, thus conceal 
ing much of the bold grandeur of the range with which I had 
become so familiar during my sojourn in the valley. The foot- 




A TRUCE. 39 

hills and outlying spurs were rapidly revealing themselves as 
the banks of fleecy vapor rolled upward : while down on the 
table-land stray drifts were lying, pencil-like, in the meadows ; 
but even these were beginning to move as the sun grew stronger. 

The wide stretches of ripening grain were again in the hands 
of the negro harvesters; and as we trudged along the wide 
road, their careless voices could be heard above the sharp swish 
of their cradles, cutting down the heavily laden wheat-stalks, 
and we caught sight of many bits of warm bright color as 
the laborers moved steadily forward at their tasks. The birds, 
too, were singing their joyful welcome to the coming day. 
The melodious whistle of the robin, standing on the stone fence 
by the roadside, was answered by the mocking cry of the saucy 
cat-bird as he swung like an acrobat on a slender bough over 
our heads ; while farther on I could see the scarlet coat of the 
Virginia red-bird, flitting like a flame from bush to bush in 
search of food. The swallows were busily skimming over the 
fields, catching the unwary insects as they rose in the reviving 
sunshine ; and high up in the sky hung a solitary eagle, slowly 
circling over the valley with motionless pinions, on the lookout 
for some hapless and defenseless quarry. 

The grass by the side of the road was still wet with the heavy 
dew that had fallen during the night, and the apple-trees in the 
numerous orchards were bending low beneath the increasing 
weight of the fruit that clustered on their limbs. From every 
chimney in sight, the smoke rose unbroken by the usual breeze ; 
and the voice of the dairymaid, calling to her cows, sounded 
clear in the still and perfumed air. The scattered cattle in the 
pastures cropped the juiey herbage in quiet mood, undisturbed 
by the shrill neighing of Tom s favorite horse as he came gallop 
ing over the turf to greet his master. Everywhere the scene 
was one of contentment, peace, and prosperity. 

These happy and tranquil features of the landscape revived 
my spirits, and I insensibly grew more and more cheerful under 
their soothing influence. 



40 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Tom chattered buoyantly as we walked, with no apparent 
thought or trouble on his mind. He talked of our college 
days, and prophesied my future success ; and I was content to 
let him run on in this hopeful fashion, for I found relief in 
silence. 

" Well, Frank, old fellow, we part here. Yonder lies your 
road," said Tom, as we paused for a moment on the moss-grown 
stone bridge that spanned the river and led to the mountain 
road beyond. " I m sorry I can not go with you through the 
Gap, but you know I must go to town to-day for the gov 
ernor." 

" We will say farewell here, then," I replied. " It will be 
long before we meet again : it may be never." 

" Oh, nonsense ! we are safe to meet somewhere in the 
future," responded my companion confidently. 

" Let us hope so," said I rousing myself with an effort : " such 
friendship as ours has been should not be lightly broken." 

" You may well say that, Frank. And now good-by. You 
must not linger here, for you ought to get over the mountain 
before the sun gets fiercer. Good-by, my dear boy." 

" Good-by, Tom. If ever we meet again it must still be as 
brothers." 

" Brothers always ! " exclaimed Tom with a kindling eye, as 
he seized my outstretched hand with his sturdy and honest 
grip. 

" I am glad to hear you say so, for there s no knowing what 
may happen in these troublous times," I replied, as I adjusted 
my knapsack, and turned to cross the bridge. 

On reaching the turn in the road, a few rods beyond, I looked 
back for a moment, returned Tom s mute farewell as he stood 
leaning against the parapet, and then strode forward. 

The path to the Gap was at times rugged and steep ; but the 
difficulties encountered suited my present mood, so I struggled 
resolutely upward and onward. At first I found myself in a 
deep gorge, as it wound through the dripping rocks that had 



A TRUCE. 41 

been cleft by some mighty convulsion of nature in past ages ; 
and the uneven road gave me fresh surprises at almost every 
turn. The huge masses of stone rose precipitately to the right 
and the left, like the walls of some ancient castle ; their irregu 
lar faces being touched here and there with bits of vivid green, 
where tiny ferns and mountain plants clung in the clefts or 
drooped from the ridges. Sprays of feathery creepers hung 
over the rocks at random, their dark leaves brightened by stray 
bunches of scarlet berries. At the top, hardy trees towered to 
the sky, their gnarled and twisted limbs betokening many a 
hard tussle with the howling winds which had so often torn in 
mad fury over the range. 

Passing through this wild gate to the Gap, the road became 
more steep, the loose rubble rendering my foothold precarious 
and uncertain. As yet the sunshine had not penetrated the 
Notch, and the air was damp and cold ; so I felt no fatigue, 
despite my exertions. A dense mass of foliage held this part 
of the road in close possession ; and so wild and virginal did it 
at times become, that even the pathway was invaded by ven 
turesome vines, as though the forest was jealous of the narrow 
domain seized by man. 

Frequently my passage seemed barred by the immense bowl 
ders that had fallen from the slopes above, thus compelling the 
road to swerve around their bases, and adding to the savage 
beauty of the route. It was, indeed, Nature in her wildest 
mood, and I reveled in the ever-changing rudeness of the 
scene. My heart grew lighter as I advanced, and I regained all 
my accustomed spirits. 

Thus sturdily climbing the steep and stony road, I suddenly 
came to an open ledge, which commanded a view of the entire 
valley I had left behind me. Standing on the smooth rock, as 
on a shelf hung high on the mountain side, my eyes wandered 
from point to point, from object to object ; and I enjoyed, as 
one would quaff a delicious draught, all the varied and romantic 
beauty of the landscape spread out before my eyes. Looking 



42 BULLET AND SHELL. 

up the valley, the spires of the city of Winchester seemed to be 
standing almost at my feet, and I could see each of the villages 
surrounding the city as they dotted the plain below. Farther 
on rose the dome-like crest of Cedar Mountain, standing senti 
nel over the broad expanse of field and woodland lying between 
the twin mountain ranges. Berryville was to my right, and 
away beyond the town I could distinguish the roofs and steeples 
of Charlestown, embowered in foliage ; while still farther on I 
caught glimpses of the Potomac River, as its waters glistened 
in the distance. 

On the other side of the valley rose North Mountain, and in 
the middle ground were the forests surrounding Mount Sum 
mit. An irregular line of hazel-bush betrayed the course of 
Opequan Creek, on whose banks Tom and I had whiled away 
many an afternoon trying to lure the cautious trout from their 
deep and shady pools. Right below me stood the Marshall 
mansion, easily recognized by its cluster of walnut-trees, under 
whose spreading branches I had passed so many happy hours 
in the days gone by. 

Everywhere, as far as the eye could reach, were broad fields 
of grain, interspersed with frequent clumps of woods and 
orchard dots ; while in the fields stood noble trees, like emerald 
gems, their presence adding to the exquisite loveliness of the 
picturesque panorama. 

It was, indeed, a scene long to be remembered for its peace- 
fulness ; and as I stood there perched on the mountain ledge, 
scanning the exquisite landscape, I did not dream that when 
next my eyes would fall upon it I should find its features sadly 
changed by the ravages of cruel, dreadful war, that those 
fields, now so yellow with shorn stubble and standing grain, 
would be bare and brown ; the patriarchal homesteads wrecked 
and ruined by angry shot and shell, with unsightly gaps in 
the long lines of stone now marking the divisions of the land, 
where heavy cannon had been dragged back and forth as the 
fierce tide of battle ebbed and flowed ; or that these green knolls 



A TRUCE. 43 

lying between me and the picturesque towns would be scarred 
and torn by lunettes and breastworks. 

No, all thoughts of future strife and carnage were absent 
from my mind, as I took my last and lingering survey of the 
beautiful valley. 

"Good-by, Tom," I shouted, waving my hat over my head; 
and as I did so the tireless echoes caught up his name, repeat 
ing it again and again. It was a happy omen, and I once more 
sprang joyously into the path on my homeward way over the 
mountains. 



44 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER V. 



THE HAND ON THE HILT. 

The country rings around with loud alarms, 
And raw in fields the rude militia swarms." 

UR election was over, the winter had passed, 
and Lincoln was seated in the presidential 
chair. The young party which made so vig 
orous a contest under Fre mont had, after four 
years of persistent endeavor, at length gained 
sufficient strength to cope with the political 
organization that had so long held supreme 
power in the land, but now hopelessly divided 
on national questions. The East and the 
West had united i*. thro wing the reins of gov 
ernment into the hands of the new party ; but 
the South, though humiliated by its defeat 
through the ballot, was still defiant, and threatened to resort 
to the bullet in defense of her theories and institutions. In 
assuming this position, she was greatly strengthened by the 
unwise utterances of Northern politicians ; for their words led 
the Southern people to believe that the North was irrevocably 
divided in national sentiment : so, while getting ready for war, 
the South believed that a bold and threatening front would 
intimidate the less belligerent North. 

The political sky was full of strange portents ; and the minds 
of all thoughtful men on both sides of the new geographical 
line were greatly agitated, for none could tell what a day might 
bring forth. Scarcely a household in the land but was tempo- 




THE HAND ON THE HILT. 47 

rarily divided against itself, so imperfectly were the real issues 
of the time understood, or their dangers appreciated. 

Events crystallized rapidly after the result of the election 
became known ; and before Lincoln had taken his oath of office, 
several of the wayward States openly revolted. South Caro 
lina impetuously led the way for her sisters, and already the 
busy note of preparation for the threatening struggle was heard 
within her borders. 

As yet there had been no overt act, beyond the seizure of 
a fort or two, and a navy-yard. There were many wild utter 
ances, but no blood had yet been shed. A feeling of dread 
rested upon the nation. Men feared each other, and the ties 
of personal friendship were visibly loosened. 

At length the seven cotton States formally seceded, and the 
remaining slave States threatened to follow. Then the bolt 
suddenly fell ; and there came a shock which stirred the nation 
to its very center, and set men s blood running hot in their 
veins. The national banner and authority had at last been 
rudely assailed, and a Federal garrison compelled to surrender 
to the force of arms. In an instant the veil was rent, and the 
full gravity of the situation stood revealed to the people. 

Sumter had fallen, and the harbor of Charleston bristled with 
secession cannon. The war had at length begun : there was no 
further hope of a reconciliation. The sword must now decide 
the quarrel. The roar of cannon drowned the voice of peace. 
War s angry dogs were let loose. 

Such was the attitude and course of events during the spring 
of 1861. I had gone back to college, and passed the winter in 
quiet study. As the snow melted under the elms in our college 
park, and the aged trees were tinged in vernal green, a feeling 
of disquietude came upon me ; for the excited condition of the 
country had made itself felt, even among the students. It was 
only a few short months since I had parted from Tom Marshall 
on the little stone bridge that spanned the winding river under 
the mountains, yet how changed was the situation ! The rapid- 



48 BULLET AND SHELL. 

ity with which the quarrel had taken visible shape made this 
change appear all the more terrible, and my mind wandered 
from my books to ponder on the possibilities of the future. 
The college, too, was becoming deserted ; for few cared to 
study the musty records of the dead past while our own his 
tory was being made so rapidly before our eyes. 

With the news of Anderson s surrender ringing in my ears, 
I impatiently threw aside my books, and abandoned study. 
Standing in the streets of New- York City, the next day, I 
saw a favorite regiment march over its pavements in prompt 
response to the call of the government. 

It was an exciting and extraordinary scene ; and my pulse 
throbbed wildly that bright sunny April afternoon, as I wit 
nessed the fierce outburst of popular feeling. Half a million 
of people thronged the streets of the great city, and waited in 
surging masses to see their citizen-soldiery march past. Traffic 
in Broadway was entirely suspended for the time, and the busy 
life of the metropolis seemed suddenly diverted from its accus 
tomed channels. From house-tops and windows waved the 
stars and stripes in endless profusion, while men and women 
wore the tricolor on their breasts. 

All classes of society were excited, for the appeal of the 
government for protection and support had roused the people 
to a realizing sense of their danger. The call for troops had 
broken down many barriers, and the torrent of popular loyalty 
swept every thing before it. 

The banker at his desk had heard the call, and pushed aside 
his interest-tables to obey it. The physician sitting beside his 
patient had heard it, and prepared to change the sphere of his 
duty. The lawyer pleading his client s cause in the court 
room had heard it, and dropped his brief to shoulder a musket 
in obedience to the summons. The artisan had heard it above 
the rattle of machinery, and threw away his tools to take up 
the weapons of war. The clerk had heard it at his counter, and 
abandoned his yardstick for the bayonet. The artist before his 



THE HAND ON THE HILT. 49 

easel had heard it, and turned his canvas to the wall, there to lie 
untouched until he had done his duty as a soldier. The fash 
ionable idler had heard the appeal in his club-room, and rejoiced, 
as he pulled off his gloves, that at last he had an earnest object 
in life. As all these men came together and fell in, shoulder to 
shoulder, their hearts beat high with enthusiasm; and they 
marched forward in solid column, fully appreciating the grave 
responsibility resting upon them. 

While the people waited for the militia, thus suddenly sum 
moned from every profession and pursuit in life, a feverish 
excitement pervaded the crowds. Men who the day before 
had angrily disputed on political questions, now clasped hands 
in silent token of their mutual adherence to the government. 
Bands of young men marched up and down the middle of the 
streets, singing patriotic songs, being joined in the refrain by 
the assembled multitude. The expression of feeling was decid 
edly tumultuous , but it did not seem at all out of place, so 
abnormal was the occasion, so strange the surroundings. The 
North was indeed rising in all its might and power, and every 
man s face wore a look of determination that spoke clearer 
than words how thoroughly each individual appreciated the 
crisis at hand. 

At length the roll of drums is heard in the distance, and afar 
off we can see the glitter of the bayonets as they flash in the 
rays of the setting sun. The police become suddenly active, 
and push the expectant people back ; then the crowd parts, and 
the head of the column appears. It is the gallant New- York 
Seventh, stripped of all gaudy decoration, but well equipped 
for active service. With full ranks, the knapsacks giving the 
command an appearance of solidity not observable on holiday 
parade, the regiment marches steadily forward to the monot 
onous beat of the drums. Men in the ranks are recognized by 
friends in the throng, and earnest farewells are uttered. 

" There s Jack ! I see him ! Don t you ? See, right there 
in the middle," exclaims a young man at my elbow. 



50 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"Yes, yes! That s him. That s Jack. Hurrah for Jack! 
Good-by, old fellow ! " and the speaker waves his hat wildly, 
and unconsciously treads on my foot. 

Jack hears his name, sees his friends, and a warm flush of 
pride mantles his face as he gives a brief nod in response. 

" I wonder where Bob is. Isn t this his company ? " asks 
another. " Yes, there he is now. God bless you, Bob ! I ll look 
after mother ; " and as he exchanges farewells with his brother, 
the poor boy s eyes grow dim with manly tears. 

" They march better than ever," remarks a bystander crit 
ically. " It s positively magnificent ; " and he is joined in his 
cheers by all who hear his words of praise. While the men 
cheer in their enthusiasm, women weep as they see some loved 
face vanish; yet they, too, are proud to see their husbands, 
brothers, or lovers so prompt in answering the call of duty. 

Now a tremor runs like a vibration through the vast as 
semblage, as tidings come that the sons of Massachusetts have 
been slain in the streets of Baltimore. The New- York soldiers 
marching down the wide thoroughfare hear the news as they 
pass ; but the column of steel pauses not, and in a moment 
more it is gone. 

The fact that blood has been shed causes men to gaze mutely 
into each other s faces ; for now they realize that at last the seal 
of peace has indeed been broken, and the pestilence of angry 
war is upon them. The half-dozen lives sacrificed that day in 
the Monumental City is but the beginning of the bitter har 
vest to come. 

Day after day I lingered in the feverish city, and day after 
day saw other regiments pass through its streets. Young men 
marched in the ranks in their citizen s dress, carrying a musket, 
content to wait for the uniform yet in the workshop. Others 
carried knapsacks for the friends they escorted to the place 
of embarkation. From other cities came fresh bodies of troops, 
and recruiting banners were flung to the breeze. 

It was wonderful to see how men contended with one another 



THE HAND ON THE HILT. 51 

for the privilege of enrolling as volunteers. Veteran officers, 
who had simply hoped to raise a company, were astonished to 
find themselves at the head of a regiment. A little band of 
Mexican heroes started a battalion, and at the end of a week 
were carrying swords as field-officers in a brigade. Had the 
government fully appreciated the full extent of its needs at 
that time, it could have had an army of a million for its first 
campaign. 

Caught up by this whirlwind of martial feeling, I soon found 
myself in the uniform of a Federal soldier. What mattered it 
to me which of the States carried my humble name on its rolls, 
New York or my native New Hampshire ? The loyal States 
were bound together all the closer that their sons served in 
each other s regiments. It was not the State color, but the 
National one, we were to defend. 



52 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER VI. 




DRAWING THE BLADE. 

1 Then, in the name of God and all these rights 
Advance your standards, draw your willing swords." 

IX weeks passed, and we were rapidly learning 
our duties as soldiers in camp of instruction. 
The war was indeed assuming grand propor 
tions. In the North the ties of political party 
were loosened, and men now only thought of 
defending the integrity of the Union. All 
of the seceding States had already formed a 
provisional government, and their armies were 
actually in the field. Beauregard menaced 
Washington on the plains of Manassas, and 
Federal troops were marching to meet him 
over the roads I had tramped the previous 
summer. In the Shenandoah Valley, Johnston was in possession, 
and that beautiful region was beginning its experience of the 
vicissitudes of war. The Mississippi River was blockaded its 
entire length, from Cairo to New Orleans ; and a Confederate 
navy was forming in Mobile Bay. In the South-west other 
opposing armies were confronting each other. It only needed 
a spark to set the whole train in a blaze. 

It was a period of anxious expectation. Armies were rising 
on every hand with amazing rapidity ; ship-yards were thronged 
with workmen engaged in transforming merchant-vessels into 
ships of war ; founderies were turning out cannon, or casting 
vast quantities of shot and shell ; artisans were learning new 



DRAWING THE BLADE. 53 

trades, for, instead of implements of husbandry, they were 
fashioning weapons for the battle-field ; tender-hearted women 
wrapped the crisp cartridge, or stitched the uniforms of blue 
and gray. The pruning-hook was being beaten into the sword- 
blade, and the simple citizen became a soldier. Throughout 
the length and breadth of the land a feverish activity prevailed : 
the pursuits of peace were abandoned for the perils of war. 
New geographical lines had been drawn, and brother stood up 
against brother ; for Hatred ruled the hour, and pushed Reason 
from her throne. 

Thus had events progressed, when, on a bright May morning, 
our regiment arrived at Fortress Monroe, near the entrance to 
Chesapeake Bay, to tread the soil of Virginia. 

The scene in Hampton Roads when our steamer dropped 
anchor was a busy one. Coasting-vessels were lying within 
gun-range of the fort, waiting to discharge their cargoes, and 
noisy little tugs were impudently snorting and puffing as they 
towed the sailing-craft to and fro ; while beyond this little fleet 
of shipping lay a trim frigate, her black hull bristling with 
cannon. At the long wooden wharf were other vessels, their 
decks in possession of large gangs of negroes, who, with melodi 
ous chants, removed the boxes and barrels of provisions, cases 
of ammunition, tents, lumber, and hospital stores. On the shore 
immense sheds were in progress of erection, the carpenters 
hammers seeming to keep time with the monotonous songs of 
the wharf-laborers. Behind all rose the frowning walls of the 
grim fortress, its grassy parapets crowned with barbette guns. 
Away to the right, beyond the fort, I could see the camps of 
the troops that had preceded us. It was a scene full of anima 
tion and vigorous action ; and, as I watched the huge garrison 
flag flutter in the breeze over the granite walls of the fort, I 
realized that at last we were on that mysterious and movable 
line, "the front." 

All of the men were excited over this entrance upon campaign 
life : so it was a great relief when our steamer was summoned 



54 BULLET AND SHELL. 

to the wharf for our debarkation. An hour later we were 
wading through the deep sand on our way to camp, where we 
remained for weeks, doing picket-duty on Hampton Creek, 
diversified by an occasional reconnoissance beyond the deserted 
village. 

The men were beginning to murmur at the lack of active 
operations, when orders came to attack some Confederate forti 
fications discovered at a gully called Big Bethel, on the road to 
Yorktown. Our regiment was to move with others at midnight ; 
and as the extra rounds of ball cartridge were issued, we were 
told to get all the sleep we could before the hour for starting 
arrived. A better method for keeping us all awake could not 
have been devised, as scarcely an eye was closed during the night. 

While lying in my tent, listening to the wild surmises of my 
comrades, my thoughts drifted far away. I had not heard from 
Tom Marshall since Christmas, when he informed me that even 
then he was enrolled as a defender of the Southern cause. 
Now we were indeed ranged on opposite sides of the great 
quarrel, as both he and Kate had prophesied ; and, though I felt 
strengthened in my own course by the brave letters of my 
mother, who approved the step I had taken, I was depressed 
by the thought that our convictions regarding individual duty 
had placed my friend and myself in such decided antagonism. 
True, there was little probability that Tom and I would ever 
meet in the field ; and I found some comfort in that belief as I 
pondered on the possibilities of the morrow. 

Midnight came at last, when word was passed from tent to 
tent for the several companies to form. The order was obeyed 
with alacrity. It was as dark as pitch when we entered the 
main road, not even the stars being visible ; while the knowl 
edge that we were going to battle made the movement all the 
more strange and thrilling. It being our first experience of 
real work, the sense of danger nerved every heart. We had 
not yet attained the coolness of veterans ; but, feeling brave and 
confident, we obeyed this summons to battle with enthusiasm. 



DRAWING THE BLADE. 55 

Stumbling along in open column, we pushed on through the 
darkness silently but eagerly, until, after a two-hours march, 
we were led into a bit of woods on the right of the road, and 
ordered to lie down. As we did so, I began wondering what 
the result of the approaching engagement would*be. Here I 
lay, musket in hand, among men of whose existence I had been 
ignorant a few short weeks before ; and, as I stretched my tired 
body on the soft and fragrant earth, I realized the grim earnest 
ness of the situation. In a few hours I might be among the 
dead, lying motionless on the battle-field, or groaning in an 
ambulance, sick with pain and loss of blood. Yet a strange 
feeling of content rested upon* me ; and, though we were all 
nervous over the suspense, I noticed no symptoms of coward 
ice. Few of us spoke, even in whispers, for silence had been 
strictly enjoined ; and the absence of all sound among so many 
men was to me more painful to bear than any actual fighting 
could possibly be. 

Suddenly the dull sound of distant musketry somewhere in 
our rear broke the wearisome silence, and a tremor ran through 
the ranks ; then we heard the rapid galloping of a horse in the 
road, and soon after learned that two of our regiments coming 
up had met at a cross-roads, and emptied a volley into each 
other in the darkness, two or three having been killed, and 
several wounded. Of course this contretemps destroyed all 
hopes of a surprise, Avhich was a foolish idea from the begin 
ning, and showed how little our officers appreciated the sagacity 
of our antagonists. 

" I tell yez what it is, byes ! " exclaimed Dennis Malone, the 
only Irishman in my company, as he crept into his place in the 
ranks from some undergrowth in front, " thim rebs beyant are 
up to snuff. I ve bin down among our skarmishers, who are 
lying on their bellies over there ; and by all that s holy, thim 
divils in the breastworks are out among their big guns wid 
their lanterns! They ll make it hot for us to-morrer, or my 
name s not Dinnis." 



56 BULLET AND SHELL, 

"Well, this is the first time I ever heard of an Irishman 
being afraid," said I, as we all laughed at Dennis s speech. 

" You know better than that, corporal," retorted Dennis. 
" It s not afeard I am, at all, at all ; but if we don t have the 
divil s own scrimmage before long, ye may take my head for a 
fut-ball." 

" So you saw lanterns, did you, Dennis ? " I replied in a 
bantering tone. " Are you sure you were not dreaming of the 
will-o-the-wisps in your native bogs ? " 

" I ll tell yez what it is, corporal : you re my suparior officer, 
and I may not know as much about Greek or Latin as yersilf ; 
but, if you think I don t know the difference twixt a lantern 
and a bog-light, I can t say much for yer larnin ." 

As the indignant Dennis uttered these words, half a dozen 
muskets were discharged on our skirmish-line. 

" Hurroo ! they re beginning the fun. We ll all be kilt before 
night, or loaded down wid glory ! " he shouted, fairly dancing 
on his knees with excitement and delight. 

" Silence in the ranks ! " exclaimed Capt. Harding, who com 
manded our company. " Silence, I say ! " 

" We ll be as mute as oysters, darlint," responded the irre 
pressible Irishman, in a sort of stage-whisper. "But why don t 
yez stop those skarmishers beyant ? Shure, they re making the 
most noise." 

Just then one of our cannon, that had been placed in posi 
tion on a knoll behind us, opened fire, and sent a shell shriek 
ing over our heads. 

" Holy mother of Moses ! An what s that ? " bellowed Den 
nis, as he cowered with the rest of us under the awful sound. 

" Only a shell, you fool," testily remarked our sergeant. 
" Haven t you ever heard one before ? " 

" A shell, is it ? I m much obleeged to you for the informa 
tion. No, I ve never heard one before ; and ye were not 
brought up on that sort of egg-meat, either, Mr. Sargeant." 

Dennis s whimsical answer turned the laugh on the sergeant ; 



DRAWING THE BLADE. 59 

but, while we were enjoying his sally, the guns in the breast 
works replied by sending one of their shells crashing through 
the trees, and we heard a smothered groan down the line, start 
ling evidence that some poor fellow had been hit. 

There was no fun in this, so we again became silent and 
watchful, for none knew where the next shell might strike ; and 
there were more evidently coming, for our artillery began get 
ting to work briskly. By this time it was growing light, and 
we were able to see objects about us. Then the order was 
given for us to advance through the woods, and I saw that our 
line of battle extended across the road. 

"I say, Wilmot," remarked Sam Foster, my file neighbor, 
" isn t this horrid? Going through these woods, to meet we 
know not what, maybe to get a bullet in one s stomach before 
you can tell where it comes from." 

" Just my feeling, Sam," I replied. " But if the bullets go 
for your stomach they ll find it pretty full already, judging by 
the way you punished the hard-tack last night." 

" Might as well get killed with a full belly as with an 
empty " 

I heard no more of Sam s speech; for at that moment a 
terrific roar assailed our ears, and a storm of bullets whistled 
over our heads. One or two of the men in the company on 
our right went down ; and I involuntarily shook myself, half 
expecting to find a wound. A minute after, we received 
another volley, and there were more men down. Then we 
caught a glimpse of the new earth forming the Confederate 
breastworks as they frowned on the other side of the narrow 
gully. At once nearly every man in the ranks began firing 
without orders, much to the disgust of our colonel. 

" Stop that firing, you confounded fools ! " he shouted 
angrily: "wait until you get the word." 

But we never got the word ; for in a few minutes we were 
told to fall back, the shells coming in pretty fast. We did not 
mind them much now, for we were beginning to understand that 



60 BULLET AND SHELL. 

everybody does not get killed in a battle. The order to retreat 
disgusted the men ; but we obeyed, supposing it to be a change 
in the plan. As the regiment moved off, my foot caught in a 
projecting root, and I fell ; finding, when I tried to get up, that 
my ankle was sprained. Here was a ridiculous predicament. 

" What s the matter wid ye, corporal ? Why the divil don t 
ye get up? Shure, the rigiment is retrating." And Dennis 
leaned compassionately over me as I writhed in pain. 

" Never mind me, Dennis : go with the boys. I ve sprained 
my ankle." 

" Is it lave yer, and ye right forninst the inimy ? The divil 
a fut I ll stir until I see ye get up. It s an illigant excuse I ve 
got, so I have, for staying out here." 

" If you gave me a lift, Dennis, perhaps I might be able to 
hobble off to the rear." 

"Shure, an that wud be flying in the face of Providence. 
Ain t yer fut sprained on purpose to kape ye out here ? Rest 
aisy a bit where yer are until we see what s going on," replied 
Dennis, as he began peering through the trees towards the gully. 

"It may be a Providence for me, Dennis; but it cannot 
include you. So, if you won t help me, why, go and join the 
regiment," said I, angry at my companion s pertinacity, despite 
its whimsical phase. 

"What s good for one, corporal, is good enough for two. 
I ll tell ye what I ll do. I ll crawl down there and see what 
they re doin , and then I ll come back and tell ye," replied the 
fellow, undaunted by my evident anger. 

" Precious little good that will do me. What do you want 
on the skirmish-line ? To get a bullet through that obstinate 
head of yours ! Stay where you are." 

As I spoke, the line of skirmishers suddenly appeared all 
around us, as they fell back, at the same time keeping up a 
scattering irregular fire. 

" Halloo ! what are you two men doing here ? " exclaimed the 
officer commanding the line. " Where s our regiment ? " 



DRAWING THE BLADE. 



61 



" They have moved back, lieutenant, somewhere in the rear," 
I replied hurriedly. "I ve sprained my ankle, and can not 
walk; while this foolish Irishman persists in staying with 
me." 

" That s bad. But you must get out of here somehow, 
corporal ; for we are changing front, and you ll soon be 
between two fires. Try and get up," the lieutenant continued 
kindly, " and we ll help you along." 




THE RETREAT FROM THE FIELD. 



I scrambled to my feet, and, leaning on Dennis s shoulder, 
began limping to the rear ; the skirmishers now banging away 
as fast as they could load and fire. 

"Well, corporal, an this is quare work," said Dennis. 
" Here we are right in the middle of a scrimmage, and neither 
of us firing a shot. If ye ll rest yersilf against that tree for a 
minnit, I ll sind both of our bullits into thim divils." 

"All right, Dennis. Here s my musket: blaze away," I 



62 BULLET AND SHELL. 

replied, laughing at the suggestion. "But mind, if you hit 
anybody with my ball, it goes to my credit." 

" Av coorse. Here s at ye, my darlints," cried Dennis, as he 
brought his piece to his shoulder, and pulled the trigger, fol 
lowing up the shot with another random one from my weapon. 

" Well, how many have you killed ? " I asked, as I took back 
my empty gun. 

" Not more than a dozen. Shure, I didn t see any one to 
shoot at, but maybe the bullits went crooked. Come along, 
corporal : we ll retrate now in good ordher." 

Despite my pain I managed to keep moving, and in a few 
minutes after entered the field where our regiment was stand 
ing in line. As Dennis and I came in sight, two or three of my 
tent-mates ran forward, thinking I was wounded. 

"It is only a sprain," said I in explanation, chagrined at 
the accident which would prevent my going into action with 
my comrades. 

But there was no more fighting for any of us that day. The 
field-piece in the road kept up a desultory fire for nearly an 
hour ; and once we heard a loud cheer towards the left of our 
line, followed by some sharp musketry. Then a lull ensued, 
and the shells came less frequently. After waiting for another 
hour, we were told the battle was over. 

"What! No more fighting?" exclaimed Dennis. "Shure, 
we ve had none at all, barring those few shots we got in before 
the colonel stopped our fun." 

Just then a fatigue-party passed through our line, carrying 
twenty or thirty poor fellows who were groaning over their 
wounds ; and we learned that ten or twelve had been killed, 
including the officer commanding the battery, and Major Win- 
throp of Gen. Butler s staff. So there must have been serious 
work somewhere, though we had not seen much of it. 

Thus ended our first battle, and it was a fortnight before I 
could report for duty. 

Then came the news of McClellan s victories in West Vir- 



DRAWING THE BLADE. 63 

ginia ; and the tide of war drifted for a time into the South-west, 
with varying success to either side. But all these movements 
were of secondary importance to the impending conflict in the 
Virginia Valley near Centerville ; and when it ended in the de 
feat and rout of the Federal army under McDowell, at Bull 
Run, the Northern people began to understand that the South 
erners could fight as stubbornly and courageously as them 
selves. It was now evident that the war was not to be ended 
in a single campaign, and preparations were made accordingly. 



64 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER VII. 




THROWING AWAY THE SCABBAKD. 

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, 
Straining upon the start. The game s afoot." 

HE spring of 1862 found the two sections still 
arrayed against each other, with a greatly in 
creased area of operations on both sides. In 
the West and South-west the names of Thomas 
and Rosecran, of Sherman and Grant, were 
becoming known as those of Federal leaders ; 
while McClellan, Banks, Pope, and Heintzel- 
man rose to command in the East. Hereto 
fore campaigns had been conducted almost at 
random, no concerted plan being laid down. 
Now all this was to be changed. Henceforth 
a definite scheme was to be carried out, with 
three main objects in view, the enforcement of the block 
ade along the Atlantic coast, the opening of the Mississippi 
River, and the capture of Richmond, the Confederate capital. 
The navy, reinforced and strengthened, was to do the first, the 
Western armies would attempt the second, while the Army 
of the Potomac was to accomplish the third part of the plan of 
operations. 

)n the other hand, the Confederates, under Breckenridge, 
Sydney Johnston, and Beauregard, had established a strong 
line of defense in the West, extending from the Mississippi to 
the Cumberland Mountains ; their right resting on Mill Spring 
and Cumberland Gap, with the left at Columbus. Fort Donel- 






THROWING AWAY THE SCABBARD. 65 

son and Fort Henry held the Tennessee and Cumberland 
Rivers, while Bowling Green protected the railroads running 
south of Nashville. Johnston, commanding the Army of North 
ern Virginia, covered the James River and Richmond with his 
left, at the same time threatening Washington. These varied 
operations, covering as they did so wide an area of territory, 
betokened a desperate series of campaigns during the summer. 

Halleck, commanding the Western Federal forces, had been 
instructed to pierce the enemy s center, and so open the way to 
Nashville, and recover a part of the Mississippi-river front, as 
well as the Memphis and Charleston Railroad, then the main route 
of communication between the Eastern and Western branches 
of the Confederate armies. McClellan was to take his com 
mand up the Virginia peninsula, and march direct on Rich 
mond ; while Banks defended Washington, and Pope operated 
in the Virginia Valley towards Culpepper. Burn side was at 
Newbern on the coast, and Gilmore was besieging Pulaski. 

In January Thomas repulsed a Confederate assault at Logan s 
Cross-roads, which compelled the latter to abandon Mill Spring ; 
and in the following month Grant captured Forts Donelson and 
Henry, these victories being followed by the evacuation of 
Columbus and Bowling Green. With so good a beginning, the 
campaign opened brightly for the Federals. It only remained 
for the Eastern armies to achieve like success, to speedily end 
the war. But the quarrel was not to be decided so easily. 

During the blustering days of March, the Army of the 
Potomac moved from Alexandria by transports, and landed at 
Fortress Monroe, being also greatly reinforced by troops from 
Maryland and the Susquehanna Valley. Our regiment had spent 
the winter in Baltimore, and took part in a bloodless campaign 
under Gen. Dix on the Chesapeake peninsula : so we joined the 
army with high hopes for the future. Promotion had come to 
many of our officers, who entered other regiments ; and I now 
wore the chevrons of a sergeant. 

For the second time in ten months I found myself on board 



66 BULLET AMD SHELL. 

a steamer lying in Hampton Roads, once more the spectator of 
a busy, interesting scene. Steamers from the New-England 
coast, Long-Island Sound, the Hudson and the Delaware Rivers, 
lay here side by side, their broad decks black with troops im 
patiently waiting for orders to land. At the old familiar wharf 
other steamers were being rapidly emptied of their living 
freight, a constant stream of armed men marching past the 
forts. A countless fleet of sailing-vessels were also anchored 
in the Roads, laden with supplies ; and in the offing several war- 
vessels afforded the needful protection. In their midst we dis 
covered the little queer-shaped Monitor, which had only a few 
days before beaten off the Confederate iron-clad. Towards the 
mouth of the James River the submerged masts of two frigates, 
"The Congress" and "The Cumberland," attested the su 
periority of armored vessels over wooden ones. 

The air was raw and cold when our morning roll was called ; 
and the men huddled on the deck in their overcoats, hoping to 
see the sun shine before we came to land. This hope was grati 
fied ; for by the time we received our signal to disembark, the 
clouds disappeared, and the day grew warm and cheerful. 

Already the army was on its way up the peninsula ; and as 
we went into camp on the Newport News road, I could see long 
lines of troops marching towards our old battle-ground at Big 
Bethel, their immense trains of wagons toiling through the deep 
sand in every direction. To us the familiar ground was full of 
interest, but the pressure of so large an army had obliterated 
all but the leading landmarks. By the end of a week it came 
our turn to move to the front, and in the early days of April 
we entered the camp before Yorktown. Days of inaction 
lengthened into weeks, and we began wondering at the slow 
progress made. The army was restive at being thus held in 
leash in sight of the enemy, though it willingly dug trenches 
and hauled siege-guns to the batteries. 

My Zouave comrades were restless at their confinement in 
camp: so it was with almost boyish delight that we received 



THEOWING AWAY THE SCABBARD. 



67 



orders to go to the fortifications. A day was first spent in the 
woods, learning how to make gabions and fascines ; and the next 
night we were furnished with shovels and pickaxes. The moon 
was struggling behind a heavy bank of clouas as we silently 
marched over an old cornfield, until we reached the high bank 
of the York River, opposite Gloucester Point. With a few 





IX THK TRENCHES. 



whitewashed palings from a neighboring garden-fence the out 
lines of our proposed battery were laid out in an orchard, and 
the work of digging proceeded merrily. It was something to 
do at last ; and the task was greeted as a positive pleasure. 

About midnight I was sitting on the edge of the long pit, 
quietly watching my platoon at work, when I became aware of 
the presence of a small group of officers, closely shrouded in 



68 BULLET AND SHELL. 

their long night-cloaks. The uncertain light given by our lan 
terns as they stood hidden in the pit afforded me no clew as to 
the identity of these visitors, though I felt satisfied they were 
of high rank. 

" Good-evening, sergeant," said one of the group, in a 
musical voice : " you re busy at work, I see." 

" Yes, sir," I replied respectfully: u the boys are doing very 
well, considering." 

" They have dug splendidly ; haven t they, Marcy ? " said the 
officer to one of his companions. " Look at that cut : it s as 
straight as a wall." 

" Sa-ay, sargeant," cried Dennis, as he wiped his perspiring 
face, " how many guns are they going to put up here ? " 

44 Four, I believe," was my reply. 

" My man," said the unknown, as he leaned against the trunk 
of the apple-tree, " how do you like digging trenches ? " 

" Troth, your honor, it s fine fun at the beginning," replied 
Dennis diplomatically. 

"Rather tiresome fun, I should judge," remarked the officer, 
evidently amused. 

" You d think it fun to have to dig a big hole like this before 
daylight, right forninst the inimy s guns," explained my Irish 
comrade. 

44 Ah ! I understand. Marcy, aon t you think Warren is 
going a little too deep?" said the stranger. 

" Begorra, an if we keep on much longer, it s my belafe we ll 
be in Chiny before morning ! " exclaimed Dennis, much to the 
amusement of his comrades. 

44 Confound your impudence ! " angrily cried the officer ad 
dressed as Marcy : 4 do you know whom you are talking to ? " 

44 Divil a bit ! and what s more, I don t care. Shure, ain t we 
all one color in the dark?" undauntedly retorted Dennis. 

" Let him alone, Marcy. The man means no impertinence," 
said our mysterious visitor. 

44 Well, general, if you will persist in masquerading in this 



THBOWING AWAY THE SCABBAED. 69 

way, I suppose we must expect these incidents," replied General 
Marcy, whom I had by this time recognized as General Mc- 
Clellan s chief of staff. 

" Oh, fudge ! I like to see and hear what my men are doing, 
and how they feel," said the general. 

" Please forgive Dennis, sir," said I : "he s always getting into 
a scrape with that foolish tongue of his." 

"Forgive him? Why, sergeant, there s nothing to forgive. 
Good-night, and just tell your Irish friend that General Mc- 
Clellan hopes he will get into Yorktown before he drops 
through into China ; " and with a merry laugh the commander 
of our army disappeared in the darkness. 

The news that " Little Mac " had visited us soon circulated, 
and it was wonderful to witness the enthusiasm manifested by 
the men over their general. 

The next morning our redoubt was so far advanced that the 
working-party were entirely under cover, and we continued to 
finish the details undisturbed by the shells thrown over our 
heads by the Confederate batteries on the other side of the 
river. In a week the huge Parrott guns were in position, and 
we prepared to reply to the favors already received. It was 
our first experience at real gunnery : so when the four iron mon 
sters were discharged, the stunning reports caused considerable 
confusion, and we actually forgot to watch the effects of our 
shells. But the artillery officer directing our movements 
seemed well satisfied, for he ordered the guns to be again 
loaded. After a little practice we learned the range ; and a day 
or two after, the artillery captain carefully sighted the pieces, 
and ordered a broadside. At the simultaneous discharge of 
our whole battery, we rushed through the smoke of the guns to 
the ramparts, and saw our four shells explode in a bunch over 
the water-battery. A moment after, a big column of white 
smoke rose from the battery, hiding it for the moment from 
our sight ; and the air was full of flying fragments. 

" By Jove ! boys, you ve done it this time," exclaimed the 



70 BULLET AND SHELL. 

captain. " Their magazine must have blown up. See ! the 
guns have tumbled into the water, and part of the cliff is falling." 

This feat led to our regiment being transferred to the right 
of the main line, where we remained in charge of the batteries 
until Yorktown was evacuated. 

It was now May ; but, though we had been six weeks in the 
field, our advance had been lamentably slow. Yet, while our 
confinement in a comparatively small area told upon the health 
of the army, there was no grumbling. Surrounded as we were 
by pestilential swamps, disease was rife ; and, though we had 
not seen a battle, the hospitals were rapidly filling. Our gen 
eral, in protecting us from Magruder s shells, had not cheated 
Death of his harvest. The army had already lost as many men 
by malaria as it would have required to seize the earthworks 
of the Confederates by direct assault. 

On the night of the 3d of May, I leaned over the breech of 
my gun, thinking of the bombardment we were to begin on 
the morrow. All was silent about me, only the hoarse chal 
lenge of some sentinel breaking the silence. The moon was 
hidden by a heavy bank of clouds ; and, in the trenches behind 
our line of forts, five thousand men lay asleep on their arms. 
Suddenly a gun was fired from the Confederate redoubt near 
est the river, and then another and another followed suit. In 
a few minutes the batteries opened a furious fusillade, and the 
air was full of flying shells. It was a magnificent scene ; and I 
forgot my danger in watching the flashes of the guns and the 
flight of the shells as they rose in front, and fell in the rear, 
their blazing fuses betraying their passage. Hour after hour 
this fierce, unexpected cannonade continued, until at length 
the mortar-shells began tumbling into our parallels. Captain 
Harding stood near me as one fell. 

" Heavens ! But this is getting to be a hot place, Wilmot. 
Tell the men to shelter themselves in the traverses." 

" No use, sir. They are all too much excited to lie still," I 
replied. 



THROWING AWAY THE SCABBARD. 73 

" I don t wonder at it : I feel that way myself. I wish we 
had orders to reply." 

"Faith, an we d make the divil s own row together," said 
Dennis, who was, as usual, ready to take part in any conversa 
tion near him. 

But we never used the guns we had labored so long to get 
into position ; for, as the day broke, two or three negroes came 
along the river-path, and announced that Yorktown had been 
evacuated. This changed the whole condition of affairs, for the 
army was at once set in motion. Before noon, long columns of 
infantry were pushing forward, being far in the advance by 
nightfall. 

The unhealthy water and the unusual fatigue had at length 
its effect, for that night I was stricken down with fever. I 
remember being lifted into an ambulance, and the awful jolt 
ing of the vehicle over the rough road, until insensibility dead 
ened my pain. It was with astonishment, therefore, that I 
found myself, on waking, lying on a rude stretcher in the dark. 
Trying to discover my whereabouts, a few drops of water fell 
on my face, which was already dripping wet, and I heard rain 
pattering on a roof over my head. 

" Where am I ? Help ! Help ! " I shouted, glad to find my 
voice quite strong. 

A light glimmered faintly through a window, and I saw that 
I was lying in an open shed. 

" Stop that noise. What s all this confounded row about?" 
said a voice authoritatively. 

" Shure, it s none of us, at all, at all. It s the dead man out 
in the shed beyant," replied a Celtic voice. 

" The dead man ? What do you mean ? " 

" Why, it s the sargeant that you said was dead, and they ve 
put him in the shed. Troth, he s got a good yell of his own, if 
he is dead." 

In a few minutes I was lifted up, carried into the house, and 
snugly wrapped in blankets on a bed of loose hay. 



74 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Pon my word, sergeant, you ve had a narrow squeak of it," 
said the surgeon. 

" How came you to think me dead ? " I asked. 
"Why, there was every indication of it. That dripping 
water must have given your system a shock, and so restored 
animation." 

" How lucky the roof leaked ! Arrah ! who ever heard that a 
leaky roof was good to bring a dead man back to life?" said the 
same Irish voice I had heard in the shed. Looking round, I 

found it was Dennis. 

Wondering at the unexpected 

^^ presence of my Irish comrade, 

^ JK^ /Si;,^ w ^ seeme d always near me, 

and devoutly thanking God for 
. my escape, I closed my eyes, 
and fell asleep in the genial 
warmth of the room. When I 
awoke the next day, I found 
the fever gone ; but it had left 
me so weak I could not rise. 
THE DEAD SERGEANT S YELL. Seeing Dennis near by, I asked 

how he came to be in hospital. 

"An do you think nobody but yersilf has a right to be 
sick ? " he asked indignantly. " Shure, while you were lyin in 
your tint on the cowld wet ground, a-shakin wid the faver, I 
felt me own bones beginning to ache ; and they hadn t taken 
you away long before I tuk sick mesilf, and they carried me 
here. And that s all there s about it." 

" Did you know it was I who lay out there in the shed, 
supposed to be dead ? " 

" Deed, an I didn t. Faix, if I d a known it, I d had a 
wake over ye, though we d have to do widout the whishky." 

" But I heard you say it was a sergeant," I persisted with the 
petulance of a sick man. " How did you know that ? " 

"An listen to him! As if there s nobody else a sargeant but 




THROWING AWAY THE SCABBARD. 75 

himself ! Oh ! but you re proud in your grand sthripes. Shure, 
they tould me it was a sargeant," said Dennis, coming at last 
to the point. 

" Are you getting well ? " said I, amused at my comrade s 
good-natured loquacity. 

" Yis : I m a thrifle better now that I ve found you in the land 
of the livin ," replied Dennis as he wrung my hand and left me. 

I lay dozing on my rude bed all day, being at length roused 
into wakefulness by the unexpected sight of a woman s face 
bending over mine. 

" How are you getting on, sergeant ? " she asked in a soft, 
kind voice. 

" Much stronger, thank you, and a little hungry," I replied, 
wondering who my visitor could be. 

" Come, now, that s a brave sign. Here is some nice soup : 
see if you can swallow it ; " and the tall lady held a spoon to 
my fevered lips. 

The soup was delicious, and I hungrily drank all there was 
in the bowl. 

" There, you will do famously now. But you must lie still, 
and get strength. I ll see you again to-morrow." 

"Who was that, Dennis?" I asked when my visitor had 
gone. " How did she come here ? " 

" Faix, she s an angel dropped from the sky, that s what 
she is." 

" But who is she ? " 

i( Shure, she s the daughter of our old gineral." 

" Daughter of our general ! what general ? " 

" Why, ould Shoot-him-on-the-shpot Dix, that we left behind 
us in Baltimore." 

" Oh, I understand ! It s Miss Dorothea Dix. I ve heard 
of her labors in the Washington hospitals. But she is not Gen 
eral Dix s daughter, Dennis." 

" Well, if she isn t, she ought to be : and her father ought to 
be a gineral for her sake." 



76 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" So," said I musingly, " we have an American Nightingale, 
have we ? " 

"I say, Master Frank, the faver s getting into yer head again. 
Shure, there s no nightingales in Ameriky," replied Dennis 
compassionately. 

" Confound it, man ! I was not talking about a bird, but a 
woman. Did you never hear of Florence Nightingale ? " 

" Divil a word : who was she ? " 

" Why, during the Crimean war she went out with a corps 
of nurses for the English hospitals in the field." 

" Well, sargeant, this is a quare world, to call a bird and a 
woman by the same name. But never mind, Frank darlin , 
whether they be Nightingales or Dixes, the women are always 
to the fore, God bless em ! " said Dennis in a husky voice, his 
honest blue eyes meanwhile filling with tears. 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 



11 



CHAPTER VIII. 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 

. . . "And everywhere 
Low voices with the ministering hand 
Hung round the sick." 

YORKTOWN, Va., May 16, 1862. 

OTICE. Every man who is ready and anxious to 
join his regiment at the front will report forthwith 
at the office of the medical director. 

GEOFFREY WILLIS, 
Lieut.-Colonel and Medical Director. 



Such was the queerly worded notice I found 
posted upon the door of our hospital early one 
morning. I had already regained my strength, 
thanks to the care of my doctors and a tol 
erably strong constitution. I found Yorktowii 
greatly changed ; for the town had become an 
immense storehouse for supplies, and the narrow, dusty streets 
were choked with wagons. Troops still continued to press 
forward, while steamers carried other detachments up the 
Pamunkey River towards the White House. The battle of 
William sburg had been fought, iullowed by a few unimportant 
skirmishes, so it was evident that a decisive engagement would 
soon occur. 

This aspect of affairs made me anxious to rejoin my regiment, 
for hospital life was irksome in the extreme. The bulletin of 
our medical director was, however, so odd in its phraseology 




78 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



that I half suspected a joke ; for I knew there were many men 
who would cling to the easy life in hospital until they were 
fairly turned out. However, I decided to report for duty. 
Announcing my intention to Dennis, I was glad to find him as 
eager to join our comrades as myself. Our house surgeon 
smiled on being told of our desire to report, and told us to 
equip ourselves from the accumulated stock of rifles and mus 
kets lying in an out-house. Selecting two breech-loading guns 
and sufficient ammunition, Dennis and I presented ourselves at 




REPORTING TO THE SURGEON. 

the medical director s office. There were present on the same 
errand some twenty or thirty other men, all fully equipped for 
service. 

" So you men are anxious to go to the front," said the direct 
or, smiling over his spectacles in an odd manner, as he stood 
surveying our little group. 

Nearly all of the men nodded ; and, seeing that I was the only 
sergeant present, I assumed the office of spokesman. 

" We have simply obeyed your order, doctor. I, for one, 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 79 

would like to join my regiment very much. I presume the rest 
are of the same mind." 

" I m glad of it. Now, sergeant, you just see that all the 
men are in good shape for service ; then form your squad." 

The task of inspection was soon over ; and, there being three 
or four corporals, I organized a little company. It was then 
quite late in the afternoon ; so the surgeon put on his cap, and 
led the way to the wharf. Arriving there, I was ordered to 
post sentries, and see that no one went on board the steamer 
without a pass. 

u I m going to send away some sick and wounded," remarked 
the surgeon ; " and, after we get the steamer loaded, I ll send 
you to the front." 

Wondering why the medical director had not taken a guard 
from the regular garrison, I established the necessary line of 
sentinels, content with the fact that it was active duty once 
more. The embarkation of the sick was a tedious one, and it 
was midnight before the surgeon in charge of the steamer 
announced that he could take no more. When he did report 
the fact, our little medical director stopped the line of stretch 
ers, and turning to me said, 

"Now, sergeant, march your guard on board. You see, I 
wanted a few steady, willing fellows : that was why I put 
up such a polite note. You are going to Washington instead 
of the front ; " and he laughed heartily at the success of his 
stratagem. 

My men were delighted at the unexpected change in our des 
tination, and went on board the steamer in high feather. We 
subsequently learned that on the following day every able- 
bodied man in the hospitals was suddenly drafted on board a 
transport, and sent to the army : so we lost nothing by our 
promptness in reporting for duty. 

The passage up the River Potomac was an enjoyable one, 
despite the suffering by which I was surrounded. As I was 
sitting in the stern, watching the immense flocks of wild ducks 



80 BULLET AND SHELL. 

gathering in the stretches of reeds preparatory to their migra 
tion northward, Dennis appeared, his face beaming with fun. 

"I say," sargeant, what a lot of sarvints that officer has, to be 
shure ! " 

" Servants? I do not understand you." 

tfc Shure, isn t there only wan officer aboard ? " 

" Yes, only one. But what of that? " 

" Why, there s a lot of skulkers aboard, and ivery mother s 
son of em sez he s the captain s sarvint." 

" Oh ! we ll soon fix that," said I. Going to the guard-room 
between decks, I called out the reserve, and arrested sixteen 
men who were not on the doctor s books. How they got on 
the steamer was a mystery. On our arrival at Washington, I 
reported the fact to the surgeon who received the patients, and 
was instructed to march them to the provost-marshal s office. 
There the prisoners were welcomed with cutting politeness, I 
and my guard being granted passes until the steamer was ready 
to return. 

As Dennis and I wandered down Pennsylvania Avenue, he 
suggested a barber ; saying that his chin felt as rough as a stub 
ble-field in harvest-time. We accordingly walked into the 
nearest saloon, finding it occupied by several officers. Taking 
a vacant chair, I was soon in the hands of an attendant. 

"Just from the front?" inquired an elderly officer reclining 
in an adjoining chair, the napkins on his shoulders concealing 
his rank. 

" Yes, sir : we came up on the hospital-boat this morning." 

" One of the Sanitary Commission steamers, I suppose ? " 

" Yes, sir, 4 The Elm City. " 

" Well, and how are affairs getting on there ? " continued my 
interlocutor. 

" Pretty well, sir, I believe. When we left Yorktown it was 
understood the advance was making rapid progress." 

" I m glad to hear it," replied the officer, rising, and disclos 
ing the double stars of a major-general. " Good-day, sergeant." 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 



81 



" Who is that general ? " I asked my sable barber. 

" Dat gebbelman, sah, be Giniral Wadsworth, de gubernor- 
giniral, sah, of dis yeah city," was his response. 

Entering the street again, we sauntered along the avenue, 
and at Dennis s suggestion entered Willard s Hotel, where I 
had stopped while on my way home from the valley. 

" We can t sell any thing to soldiers," said the barkeeper, 
evidently as 
tonished a t 
our igno 
rance of the 
regulations ; 
a group of 
officers at the 
counter join 
ing in his 
stare at my 
demand. 

" Not sell 
to soldiers ! " 
I exclaimed: 
" why, you 
are selling to 
these," pointing to the officers. 

" Oh ! them s officers, not soldiers," he replied. 

"Begorra, Frank, but he s roight. They don t 
though they ever saw a picket-skarmish, let alone a 
scrimmage," remarked Dennis with a merry laugh. 

In the lobby we encountered General Wadsworth, who shook 
his head good-humoredly on seeing us leaving the bar 
room. 

"Well, boys, how are you enjoying yourselves? Been after 
something to drink, I suppose." 

" Yes, general : we asked for some ale ; but as we are only 
enlisted men, and do not sport shoulder-straps, we have been 




WE CAN T SELL TO SOLDIERS." 



look as 
rigilar 



82 BULLET AND SHELL. 

refused, though there s half a dozen officers in there already 
half tipsy." 

" Well, well, they won t refuse me, so come along," said the 
old general in a genial way. 

tk A bottle of champagne and some glasses," said he to the 
barkeeper, ignoring the salutes made him by the officers. " Now, 
boys, here s to General McClellan and his army. You ll like 
that toast." 

" Couldn t have a better one, giniral, if you tried for a week," 
cried Dennis enthusiastically, as he drained his glass. 

"Now, sergeant, I ll bid you good-day. Good luck to you 
both," said the general ; and we finished the bottle. 

When the military governor left us we were soon surrounded 
by the officers, and they began pressing Dennis and myself to 
join them in more drinking. My comrade was nothing loth 
to do so, and I had some difficulty in getting him safely away. 

In due time we re-embarked ; the steamer being ordered to 
proceed at once to the White House, on the Pamunkey River, 
the new base of supplies for the army. On our arrival I pro 
ceeded to the office of the medical director, delivered rny papers, 
and reported myself and guard. 

"H m, so you came on 4 The Elm City ? " remarked the sur 
geon, whose lieutenant-colonel s strap indicated that he was a 
regular-army officer. 

" Yes, sir, just arrived , and I m anxious to rejoin my regi 
ment as soon as possible." 

" You can serve the government, sergeant, as well on the 
steamer as with your regiment," said the old surgeon rather 
gruffly. 

" Perhaps so, colonel ; but I would prefer the latter," was my 
respectful reply. 

" You are highly recommended here for hospital duty, and so 
are your men. It is not often such a compliment is paid to 
hospital guards. A soldier must always do as he is bid. You 
will have to remain on the steamer." 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 83 

" Very well, colonel. If I must, I must ; but my comrades 
in the field will consider me a skulker." 

" Never mind what they think. Do your duty wherever you 
find it," said the director more kindly. 

" All right, sir : I always obey orders." 

" That s right : spoken like a man. Now, sergeant, you are 
made an acting lieutenant : so put aside your rifle for the pres 
ent, and get a sword from that heap over there. You are in 
military command of the steamer, and I shall hold you respon 
sible for the maintenance of good order and discipline on 
board." 

I saluted in silence, selected my saber, and returned to the 
steamer, finding it rapidly filling up with wounded men from 
the picket-lines. While superintending the reception of the 
remainder, the crusty old medical director appeared on the 
temporary wharf, and called me aside. 

" Now, I want you to pay particular attention to what I m 
going to say," he began. "The surgeon detailed to your 
steamer is a civilian fresh from private practice, and there are 
also on board a lot of reckless hospital students. I know very 
well that as soon as you are fairly down the river, this contract 
surgeon and his helpers will be itching to operate on some poor 
devil in their hands. Now, the War Department has very wisely 
established a rule that no wounded man is to have even a fin 
ger cut off unless he gives his own free consent ; or unless mor 
tification has set in, when of course it must be done to save his 
life. I want this rule enforced. Do you understand?" and 
the old officer s eyes twinkled merrily as he laid a hand on 
my shoulder. 

"Perfectly, colonel. If they make any fuss, or resist my 
authority, I ll clap them under arrest," I replied, laughing at 
the fun in prospect. 

" Capital ! You ll do ! " exclaimed the old gentleman, turn 
ing 011 his heel, and inarching off with a sturdy step, every inch 
of him a soldier. 



84 BULLET AND SHELL. 

The complement of wounded having come on board, we 
dropped down the stream soon after sunset. About ten o clock 
one of my corporals reported that the doctor was insisting on 
cutting off a patient s hand, despite the man s protests. Sur 
prised to find the director s warning so soon verified, I hastened 
to the spot. 

Entering the ward between decks, a singular scene met my 
eyes. There were over two hundred pallets in the ward, which 
was dimly lighted with common ship-lanterns. Near me I 
could see many of the wounded men sitting up in the uncertain 
light, excited by the piteous cries of a poor fellow in the cen 
ter, who was surrounded by a group of men in citizens dress ; 
two extra lanterns among them shedding a glow of light around 
the bed. Bounding forward, I exclaimed, 

" What are you doing ? What is all this about ? " 

" Oh ! nothing much," replied the surgeon coolly, turning 
over the instruments in his case : " we re only going to cut off 
this man s hand, and he naturally dreads the operation." 

" Have you asked his consent ? " said I. 

" No, they didn t, sergeant ; and I don t want it cut off just 
yet," cried the wounded man, looking piteously into my face. 

"Don t you know that amputations can not be performed 
unless the patient consents, or mortification sets in ? " I asked 
the surgeon. 

" Oh ! what s the use of all this bother ? He don t know 
what s good for him. It won t take us long. Give him the 
chloroform, Mr. Meredith," replied Doctor Cole. 

" You ll not cut off a leg, or an arm, or a hand, on this boat, 
unless you get the patient s consent. We shall be at Fortress 
Monroe to-morrow." 

" Why, you have no right to interfere. I am the surgeon in 
charge." 

" We shall see, sir." 

" Oh, indeed ! " said the surgeon sarcastically. 

" Corporal Harrison, bring a couple of men here," said I ; 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 85 

and then turning to the surgeon, continued, " Doctor Cole, I 
simply obey my orders. I am going to place a special sentinel 
over this man ; and the first person who touches him, except to 
dress his wound, shall be locked up and kept in confinement 
until we reach the fort. Corporal, see that these orders are 
carried out." 

This settled the dispute, and I shall never forget the look of 
gratitude the patient gave me for my interference. I subse 
quently learned that his hand was saved by careful treatment, 




A SURGICAL OPERATION FRUSTRATED. 

though he was of course unfit for military duty. On our way 
down the river, Doctor Cole and his assistants met me with 
black and threatening looks, until Dennis became frightened ; 
he of course being ignorant of my instructions. 

" I m afraid, Master Frank, thim hospital divils will be afther 
making throuble for ye whin we get to the fort," said he, as 
our steamer forged ahead on entering the broad, clear waters 
of the York River. 

" Don t be alarmed. I know my orders, Dennis." 



86 BULLET AND SHELL. 

44 By the widder Finnigan s black cat, but I m glad to hear 
that ! Shure, the byes were all worrying at thinking that that 
murdhering ould doctor wud get the best of ye." 

The next morning we dropped anchor in the Roads, the pilot 
going ashore in a boat to report. Doctor Cole asked leave to 
accompany him. On arriving at the dock, both proceeded to 
the office of the medical director, who also happened to be a 
regular officer. 

44 1 wish to make a grave and serious complaint against the 
sergeant who commands the guard on board my steamer," be 
gan the doctor pompously. 

44 Your steamer ? Pray, which one is - it ? " inquired the 
director quietly. 

44 4 The Elm City. We have only just arrived." 

44 Oh ! 4 The Elm City. Why, I thought that steamer be 
longed to the government," replied the director. 

44 Y-y-es, I know. But I m the surgeon in charge," explained 
Doctor Cole confusedly. 

44 Well, what is this complaint of yours ? " 

44 He interfered, and prevented my performing an interesting 
operation ; and he threatened to lock me up if I persisted." 

44 An operation ? What sort of operation ? " 

44 Why, a hand. There were two fingers badly shattered." 

u And the sergeant interfered, did he ? " 

u Yes, he did ; and was very impudent about it too." 

44 Did you ask the patient s consent?" 

"N-no. There was no occasion. How did he know what 
was necessary ? " 

44 And so, sir, you came here to complain of the sergeant. 
Confound you, sir ! he obeyed his orders, which is more than 
you seem to do. What the devil do you mean by leaving your 
patients without permission ? " thundered the irate director, star 
ing the dumbfounded contract surgeon square in the face. 

44 1 sup-p-posed it was all right," stammered the doctor, be 
wildered by the unexpected change in affairs. 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 87 

" Just like you civilians. Now, sir, get back to the steamer 
as fast as you can, for she s coming up to the dock in a few 
moments." 

I wondered at the changed demeanor of Doctor Cole on his 
return, and only learned the cause when our pilot narrated the 
colloquy between him and the director. The latter laughed 
heartily over my version of the incident, and seemed to relish 
the grim humor of his White-House colleague. Annoyed at 
his defeat, Doctor Cole requested to be transferred to Washing 
ton. The new surgeon was a far different man ; and while I re 
mained in the Sanitary Commission fleet, I had no occasion to 
again interfere in behalf of the mutilated victims of war. 

On our return up the river we were joined by a party of 
ladies who had volunteered to serve on board the boats, and 
our next trip was to Baltimore. The wounded men were all 
desperately hurt, and several operations were really necessary. 
One poor fellow made up his mind to lose his arm, and sub 
mitted quietly to the chloroform sponge. As it was evening, 
one of the young ladies undertook to hold a candle for the 
surgeon. Passing the ward on one of my rounds, I was struck 
by the picture. The still form of the man undergoing amputa 
tion, as it lay stretched on the table ; the cool, methodical sur 
geon, as he stood, knife in hand, rapidly cutting the living, 
quivering flesh ; the silent assistant, holding severed arteries 
with bloody but steady fingers ; the steward with basin and 
sponge, busily mopping up the red life-stream as it flowed from 
the gleaming knife, all these features made a group Rem- 
brandtish in its lights and shadows ; while in front of the sur 
geon knelt the fair-haired girl, watching with blanched cheek 
and dilated eyes the horrible butchery in progress before her. 
As I approached, the tired surgeon dropped his instruments 
with a sigh of professional satisfaction, an announcement that 
the operation was complete. Then for the first time the candle 
tottered ; and as it fell from the girl s fingers she quietly fainted, 
lying in a confused heap on the cabin-floor. Bravely had she 



88 BULLET AND SHELL. 

kept up her courage so long as there was any necessity for it ; 
but the moment the tension was relaxed her womanly nature 
asserted itself, her physical strength departed. 

Many a sad scene was witnessed on the steamer during our 
frequent trips. A big, strong man was brought on board one 
day with a bullet buried in his skull. He kept talking con 
tinually in his delirium, fighting his battle over and over again. 
From his reiterated words we gained a clear idea of the scene 
in which he had been an actor. The charge of the brigade 
upon the guns, the brief hand-to-hand conflict, the struggle for 
a cannon, all were depicted in feverish language. At last the 
bullet completed its fatal work ; and death mercifully relieved 
the soldier of his sufferings, as our steamer was tossed by the 
wild waters of Chesapeake Bay. 

This hospital duty became at length insupportable because of 
its monotony, and I longed to escape from it. The opportu 
nity came at last. We had just returned to the base of opera 
tions, and I was strolling idly through the canvas town erected 
by the sutlers, when I unexpectedly encountered my colonel. 

" What are you doing here, Wilmot ? Where have you been 
all this time ? " he asked. 

I hurriedly explained my sphere of duty, adding that I was 
anxious to abandon it. 

" Why didn t you come up to the front ? There were plenty 
of trains." 

"I thought of doing so once, but found a pass was necessary, 
even to go to the army." 

" Confound this red tape ! " muttered Colonel Fletcher. 
"If you are really anxious, sergeant, to join the regiment, 
come with me : they won t deny a colonel." 

" But how can I leave my post ? The medical director trusts 
me implicitly: I would not like to lose his good opinion," 
said I. 

" Oh ! I ll manage that. I will write to the confounded 
doctor, and explain every thing," replied the colonel. 



BANDAGE AND LINT. 89 

" All right, sir. I ll meet you here on the platform in half 
an hour, and bring another of our men with me." 

" Do so : you ll not regret it," said he, evidently pleased with 
my decision. 

Returning to the steamer, and telling Dennis to get our rifles 
and knapsacks, we abandoned the old " Elm City," and never 
saw her again while in the field. That night I was once more 
among my comrades, who had wondered what had become of 
me. But the regiment was sadly changed : many a familiar 
face was missing; and the ranks were growing slender, for 
the death-roll was already a long one. The men s faces were 
bronzed by constant exposure, their bright zouave uniforms 
faded and torn. The morale of the regiment was, however, as 
high as ever : it was one to be proud of. 



90 



BULLET AND SHELL. 




CHAPTER IX. 

A SAVAGE BOUT. 

" Twice hath the sun upon this conflict set, 
And risen again, and found them grappling yet." 

, cCLELLAN S position had now become one of 
I extreme peril. His attempt to push forward 
towards the city of Richmond, by throwing 
I a part of his force across the Chickahominy 
5 River, had been promptly met by the Con- 
x federate leader ; the result being the disas 
trous battle of Fair Oaks. Our general now 
found himself straddling a marshy stream, 
with no good line of communication between 
the divided wings of his army. Massed amid 
an extensive series of pestilential pools and 
marshes, the large force still under his control 
was wholly unable to move with that celerity and precision so 
necessary for the accomplishment of great results , while the 
health of the entire command was seriously impaired by its 
long sojourn in the malarious district. Having advanced so 
far from his base of supplies, McClellan was compelled to use 
much of his right wing to protect his communications : the 
result being, that the main body was sensibly shorn of its 
strength and effective power. The wretched condition of the 
roads prevented rapid movement of artillery , and we were in 
no position to assume the offensive, or even maintain a successful 
defensive line. The momentum of our advance up the penin 
sula had been lost ; and we felt that the army had been placed 



A SAVAGE BOUT. 91 

in a false position in a tactical sense. Still the army had faith 
in its general, and obeyed every command with a heroism, 
which, under more favorable circumstances, would have secured 
victory and renown for both. 

Such was the attitude when I resumed my duties in the 
regiment. McClellan s left rested upon a morass filled with 
white oaks, while his right occupied some eminences on either 
bank of the Chickahominy. Though our left was within a few 
miles of the James River, neither it nor the Pamunkey afforded 
any protection to our flanks. Out of the one hundred and fifty 
thousand men that had composed the army at Yorktown, fully 
thirty-five thousand had been lost by bullet or disease. 

My regiment formed part of the right wing under Fitz John 
Porter, and lay near Savage s Station. The days and nights 
passed quietly enough , and I enjoyed the change of scene and 
duty, for this was soldierly work. True, Dennis and I missed 
the nicer food of the hospital steamer, and my comrade often 
grumbled over his hard-tack and coffee when he thought of the 
flesh-pots he had forsaken , but we were otherwise contented, 
for both had felt out of place away from the regiment. Besides, 
we knew that we should soon have plenty of warm work on 
our hands. 

On the afternoon of June 26 the camps were startled by a 
sudden roll of musketry along our picket-line ; and the cry, 
"We are attacked! " ran through the tents as our bugles sounded 
the assembly. As I took my place behind my company, a ter 
rific burst of artillery and musket firing broke out towards the 
ravine called Beaver s Dam ; and we knew that McCall s troops 
were being savagely engaged. The attacking force was evi 
dently a strong one, for the fusillade of small arms increased 
in volume and intensity every moment ; and our artillery now 
began pouring in a deadly fire of shell and solid shot. As we 
moved up into position, I could see Sykes s regulars pushing 
forward through a hollow ; and, by the time we had entered the 
edge of a field of growing wheat, they were forming under 



92 BULLET AND SHELL. 

the shelter of some woods to the right. Our pickets were 
already busy, and it seemed quite certain that we would soon 
receive our share of the assault. 

" Close up, men ! close up ! " shouted Colonel Fletcher, " and 
stand steady ! " 

There was no need of the caution, for every man knew the 
importance of presenting an unbroken front. Just then three 
or four regiments came up from the left to take ground on our 
right. As they passed in our rear, evidently a little shaken 
by the terrific volleys they were apparently approaching, our 
colonel indulged in a grim bit of humor. 

" Attention, battalion ! " he shouted. " Parade rest ! " 

The order was promptly obeyed ; though the men laughed to 
see the regiment thus put through holiday maneuvers in sight 
of the enemy, with a column of troops so disordered behind us. 
Our colonel s coolness, however, had its intended effect ; for the 
moving column stiffened up, and passed on in excellent shape 
to the position assigned it. 

But I had no time for further observation of its movements ; 
for at that instant the regulars opened a fierce volley, and we 
began to see the head of the attacking force as it entered the 
opposite side of the wheat-field. Like a swarm of angry bees, 
the Confederates poured out of the woods, and engaged the 
regulars, who soon found themselves outnumbered. They 
stubbornly held to their ground, however, until a battery 
galloped up, and, rapidly unlimbering, opened on Sykes s line 
with solid shot. 

Here came our colonel s opportunity. As yet we had not 
fired a bullet ; and, though the men no longer stood at their 
absurd parade rest, the line was as steady as if on review. The 
Confederate battery was firing obliquely across the wheat- 
field, and their balls were flying away from us. Dismounting, 
Colonel Fletcher waved his hat over his head, shouting, 

" Forward ! double quick ! " 

We saw what was intended, and with a cheer every man 



A SAVAGE BOUT. 



93 



sprang forward on the run. The battery was scarcely six 
hundred yards away ; and, as we dashed through the standing 
grain, the left gun was suddenly wheeled about for the purpose 
of giving us a round of grape. As the gunner withdrew his 
ramrod, and stepped back to his position by the wheel, our 
colonel yelled out an order to lie down, at the same moment 
throwing himself flat upon the ground. We followed his 
example by instinct, and the next instant the air above us 
was full of whistling missiles. Scarcely had the report of the 




CAPTUKING A GUN, GAINES S MILL. 

gun thundered in our ears when I saw our colors rise from 
among the wheat-stalks ; then the regiment resumed its head 
long career. 

Before the piece could be reloaded, we were among the gun 
ners, and had it in our possession. Our fellows having been 
instructed in the use of artillery, several of them seized the gun, 
and slinging it round sent a charge of grape into the body of 
Confederate infantry coining up to support their battery. A 
deadly volley of musketry was their reply, and I saw men fall- 



94 BULLET AND SHELL. 

ing all around me ; Captain Par ton, who had commanded the 
company on the right of ours, lying dead almost under my feet, 
while the lieutenant-colonel had been carried to the rear badly 
hurt. We were for the moment in a perilous position ; but our 
wild dash had disconcerted the battery, and checked its fire, 
thus enabling the regulars to advance, which they soon did in 
splendid order. 

The piece we had captured had been overturned in the con 
fusion, and I could see that our right wing was fighting des 
perately at close quarters for the one next to it. On seeing the 
regulars coming up in one direction, and the remainder of our 
brigade in the other, the battery commander limbered up his 
four remaining guns, and galloped off to the rear, leaving his 
right section in our hands. 

Our reinforcements did not arrive a moment too soon, how 
ever ; for, as the battery disappeared, a strong force of infantry 
advanced. Coming up as they did in the corner of the field, 
the Confederates found themselves confronted by a cross-fire. 
Being unable to stand before it, they, too, fell back into the 
woods. The regulars immediately pushed on, and covered our 
shattered and disordered ranks. The charge cost us fully one- 
fifth of our number ; but it won for the regiment a fame which 
was some recompense to the survivors, while our colonel gained 
a brigadier s star for the action. 

But the battle was not yet over; for as we fell back with our 
prizes I saw bright sheets of flame break out on our extreme 
right, and run along rapidly towards the rear. It was now 
getting well on towards evening, and the flashes of the mus 
ketry made the darkness appear all the more intense. But 
what could this wheeling line mean ? 

U I say, Wilmot!" exclaimed Corporal Foster as we stood 
watching this fresh outburst, " that looks as though we were 
being outflanked." 

" Impossible, Sam ! The enemy surely could not get so far 
round us. 



A SAVAGE BOUT. 



95 



" Faix, I dunno," remarked Dennis, leaning thoughtfully on 
his rifle : " I m beginning to belave any thing of thim Ribs. 
They re loike Mother Maloney s flea : you never know when you 
have em safe." 

The rolling musketry increased in volume and intensity every 
moment, and it was evident that our line was slowly falling 
back. Then we saw lines of wounded coming towards us, 



P 




THE IRISH BRIGADE TO THE RESCUE. 

which seemed strange, as Savage s Station lay in the other 
direction. 

" Forward, ye divils I " shouted a Celtic voice in the hollow 
below us. Looking down, we saw the Irish brigade, General 
Meagher at its head, coming along at a jog-trot. Despite the 
gathering darkness, I could see that the men s faces were set as 
though they knew that something desperate was in store for 
them. As the brigade reached the higher ground, I saw the 



96 BULLET ANJ) SHELL. 

general turn in his saddle, and wave his sword over his head. 
The appeal was answered by a wild cheer ; and the brave fellows 
went forward at a tremendous pace, dashing into the woods 
where the battle was fiercely raging. 

Just at that moment our own brigade was ordered to re 
form : but the firing along our immediate front was not heavy, 
so our regiment lay at the edge of the hollow, comparatively 
quiet ; though it was trying work, listening to the shells of a 
battery posted on a knoll in our rear, for they were firing over 
our heads, and riddling the woods on the other side of the fields. 
The night came ; yet the scene was full of light, caused by the 
rolling musketry and the rapid discharges of the four or five 
batteries still at work. But, despite its desperate resistance, 
our line was being overlapped more and more every minute, 
and the Confederates seemed to be carrying every thing before 
them. 

" This is sad business, sergeant," said Captain Harding : 
"Savage s Station is in the hands of the Confederates, with 
all our sick and wounded." 

" How about our stores at the White House ? " I asked, re 
membering the immense quantities of supplies I had so often 
seen on the banks of the river. 

" Oh ! they re all gone, I suppose. We re cut off from the 
White House entirely now." 

" I knew we would get into a devilish mess among these 
confounded swamps!" exclaimed Burch, our first lieutenant. 
"Why we ever came here is more than I can understand." 

" That will do, Burch. You are always grumbling," responded 
the captain. "We might as well be here as anywhere else." 

" But wouldn t it have been better to hold on to our sup 
plies ? " I asked. " Now we have no base." 

"True ; but they say we are fighting Stonewall Jackson, who 
has come in from the Valley," replied Captain Harding. 

" Yes : we are like rats in a trap," grumbled Lieutenant 
Burch in his customary dissatisfied tone. 



A SAVAGE BOUT. 97 

By this time the troops on our right were rapidly falliug 
back ; and soon after the Regulars came up, showing that a 
general retreat of the entire right wing had really commenced. 
Then orders came from our brigade to move on. As we did so 
I looked back, and could distinguish the first line of the enemy 
coming forward in good style. Just at that moment a column 
of our cavalry dashed across the plain, and disappeared amid 
the smoke. Forgetting for the time that my regiment was in 
motion, I stood still, and watched the result of this last despair 
ing charge. In a few minutes a broken band of horsemen came 
flying back with ten or twenty riderless animals among them. 
As they galloped past, I also saw that three pieces of a battery 
were being abandoned for want of horses to drag them off. 
Finding that the ground I was standing on was becoming 
untenable, I ran on and overtook my regiment. 

We maneuvered to and fro all that night, sometimes on firm 
solid ground, sometimes in treacherous swamps. Now and then 
we were saluted by the Confederate pickets, answering them 
blindly with scattering volleys. Every thing seemed in confu 
sion : none knew precisely where we were, or where we were 
going. The miserable roads were choked with cannon, ambu 
lances, and wagons ; the denunciations of the drivers, and the 
shrill cries of the affrighted mules, adding to the horrors of the 
night scene. So great was the press that it seemed as though 
every vehicle was locked with its fellow. In many instances 
the artillery, in attempting to pass these trains, became mired 
in the soft, soggy earth ; sometimes being compelled to abandon 
a gun as it sank almost out of sight. Even the infantry found 
it difficult to gain firm footing ; and, for my own part, I was 
soon covered with mud and sand. Moving hither and thither 
in the darkness, we could hear the piteous cries of our wounded ; 
yet we could not help them, and we knew the next moment 
might see some of us added to their number. 

Just then a new feature was added to the scene, for a bright 
light had suddenly shot up into the sky. 



08 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"What can that be?" exclaimed Corporal Foster. 

" It must be the stores on fire at the White House," I re 
plied. 

"Quite right, Wilrnot," said Captain Harding: "Colonel 
Fletcher has just told me so." 

" Then, we re in a pretty fix. But it s just what I expected," 
said our first lieutenant. 

" Wh} r , Burch, at it again ! " laughed the captain. 

The flames grew brighter and brighter, until the horizon was 
red with angry light. It was serious business for us, because 
the destruction of these stores was proof of the critical position 
of the army. 

Then we began our memorable march to the James River. 
For seven weary days we fought from early dawn until far into 
the night, marching from the right to the left, each corps and 
division going into action after traversing in turn the interior 
line of the army. In this way the line of battle broke away 
from the right, and was extended on the left. Battle after 
battle was fought, until we ceased counting the engagements. 
Along the ridges and hills we formed in line, and withstood 
the assaults of our antagonists. We struggled through swamps, 
and waded swollen streams, as we changed one position for 
another. Amidst a hellish confusion of sounds we fought on : 
the shrieking shell, the whistling bullet, the dull booming of 
distant cannonading, the sharp rattle of musketry a few rods 
away, the groans of the wounded, the frenzied shouts of wagon- 
drivers, the blows of ax-men, the crash of falling trees, 
through it all we marched and countermarched, hardened in 
feeling, vengeful at heart, fighting witli the courage born of 
despair. 

On the second night, after another desperate struggle, orders 
came for our corps to cross the Chickahominy River. About 
eight o clock my regiment was roused up, and sent on ahead 
to the bridge nearest the line of battle. We were to keep 
the column in motion ; no man being permitted to halt on the 



A SAVAGE BOUT. 99 

bridge, even for an instant. At ten o clock the head of our 
division made its appearance, two other columns crossing on 
the bridges just beyond a bend in the sluggish stream. For 
four long hours the troops pressed on, the trains holding the 
center of the road. With a few torches to define the outlines 
of the bridge, we stood there, urging on the laggards, or lending 
a helping hand to some half-wrecked vehicle. Wagons, cannon, 
pontoons, and ambulances, artillery, cavalry, and infantry, all 
pushed on, pell-mell, with that painful haste incident to a 
retreat. As the first faint streaks of dawn reddened the tree- 
tops, French s division came up at a swinging gait. Scarcely 
had the rearguard reached the other bank of the river when 
the engineers began destroying the bridge. We were all safely 
across, and the army was once more re-united. But we had left 
our dead and wounded behind us, the ground where they fell 
being strewn with abandoned weapons. 

As our regiment moved away from the bridge in search of 
our brigade, I felt a pain in my right foot , which became at 
length so irksome, I was glad to sit down, and ascertain the 
cause. A spent bullet had torn open the counter of my high 
laced shoe, and bruised the flesh. When I had been hit I knew 
not, for the excitement and constant movement had prevented 
my noticing it before. The bullet was safely embedded be 
tween the flesh and leather, and I experienced decided relief 
on cutting out the bit of lead with my knife. I* did not dare 
to unlace the shoe ; for my foot was already so swollen, I was 
satisfied I should not be able to get it on again. Slipping the 
battered bullet into my pocket, I limped forward, determined 
to keep up with the regiment as long as possible. Any amount 
of physical suffering was preferable to being made a prisoner. 

What with the pain of my foot, the constant marching, and 

frequent halts for battle, the next four days and nights passed 

like a troubled dream. I knew we were in the reserve line at 

Cold Harbor, and on the left of the main line at Malvern Hill : 

I afterwards remembered the incessant cannonading which 



100 BULLET AND SHELL. 

marked the latter engagement, and that once during that 
afternoon I was roused by Dennis in time to be on my feet 
when our brigade opened a withering fire on the enemy. Den 
nis, indeed, insisted that when he slipped into a treacherous 
hole among the swamps I saved his life by a timely grip of his 
arm ; but I had no recollection of the incident. Beyond the 
few episodes already mentioned, all was a blank. Wet through 
to my skin, without food for days, in an agony of pain, my foot 
feeling as if imprisoned in a vise, and my shoe filled with sharp, 
cutting sand, I staggered on, half-crazed, until at length, on the 
3d of July, our corps emerged from the woods, and we found 
ourselves in a broad, open field of standing Avheat. 

" The James River ! The James ! " shouted hundreds of 
voices, the welcome cry being taken up and repeated again and 
again. 

It was indeed the James ; and, as we moved across the field, 
I could see the gunboats lying in the stream. Soon after we 
had halted for camp, our naval vessels began shelling the woods 
along our front. Despite my pain, I slept soundly through the 
night, my foot feeling stronger and easier for the rest. Dennis 
had been missing nearly all of the previous day ; but he now 
re-appeared, his absence explained by the segment of a ham 
and a bag of biscuit he triumphantly displayed before my eyes. 

"Where did you get them? I cried hungrily. 

"Why, whin I found yesterday there was going to be no 
more foighting, I made up my moincl to forage a bit: so I wint 
down among the wagons and bought these." 

" You are sure you bought them ? " said I a little doubtfully. 

" To be shure. Troth, Fd a shtole thim if there had bin no 
other way to get em. But I came acrost a countryman of 
moine, a Minister man, and he let me hev the whole for a 
foive-dollar bill." 

" Well, he charged you enough for them, though he was a, 
countryman," I remarked, laughing. 

" Och! to the divil wid the money! What does it matter, so 



A SAVAGE BOUT. 103 

long as we don t starve?" replied Dennis disdainfully, as he 
busied himself getting breakfast ready. 

"Sergeant Wilmot, you re detailed for guard-duty at the 
general s headquarters," said the sergeant-major, coming up, and 
sniffing at Dennis s broiling ham. 

" Guard-duty ! Why, it s only a few days since I was there 
on guard," I exclaimed, annoyed at the unpleasant prospect. 

" I know it, Frank ; but every sergeant above you on my list 
has been killed, wounded, or is missing. So your turn comes 
round again in a hurry/ 

" Very well ; but I am in a bad trim for headquarters duty." 

" We re none of us great dandies just now," replied the 
sergeant-major, glancing at his own soiled uniform. "But 
what s this you ve got for breakfast ? " 

" A bit of ham and some sutler s biscuit. Sit down and join 
us, Fitzgerald," said I hospitably. 

" That s an invitation not to be slighted. I ve not had any 
thing yet beyond a cup of coffee," replied the sergeant-major, 
sitting down, and joining in the appetizing meal. 

An hour later I was marching with my guard to General 
Fitz John Porter s headquarters, where I discovered that my 
command did not number over half the strength of the one I 
had relieved. I accordingly proceeded to the adjutant-general s 
tent to ask that the number of sentinels might be reduced. 

" I have only forty men, sir," said I ; " and there are now 
over twenty posts. Can t we reduce the line ? " 

" I am afraid not, sergeant. How came they to give you so 
few men ? " 

44 I don t know. I took all that were detailed." 

" Well, you must do the best you can," said the adjutant. 

44 It will be awful hard work for the men," said I, turning on 
my heel to rejoin my command. 

44 Hold on, sergeant ! " exclaimed an authoritative voice. 
Turning again, I found myself before General Porter. 

4 I ve heard your request. It is a very reasonable one : so 



104 BULLET AND SHELL. 

use your own judgment. Cut down the posts to ten if you 
can." 

"Thank you, general. The men will be pleased, and do all 
the better duty," I replied, saluting, and limping away. 

" Here ! come back, sergeant," exclaimed the general. 

I obeyed, wondering what was the matter now. 

" What makes you limp ? Are you wounded ? " 

" I got a spent ball in my shoe, sir, on the other side of the 
Chickahominy ; and it has made my foot very sore," was my 
reply. 

" Has any one examined it ? " he asked kindly. 

" Not yet, sir. I ve not dared to take the shoe off." 

" But why didn t you report for hospital?" 

" Oh ! they would laugh at me with only a broken shoe and 
a spent ball." 

" I don t know about that. It may be more serious than you 
imagine," said the general. " My surgeon shall look at it by 
arid by." 

When the surgeon did come, he announced that gangrene had 
set in, and tortured me with lunar caustic until I thought my 
foot was on fire. General Porter sent me a good supper, and 
the next morning gave orders that I should be carried in an am 
bulance to Harrison s Landing, where the Sanitary Commission 
fleet were receiving patients. When the new guard arrived 
I had a sorrowful parting with poor Dennis, and soon after 
reached the wharf. Halting before the medical officer to give 
my name and rank, I saw it was the White-House director 
from whom Dennis and I had run away. The old colonel rec 
ognized me at once. 

u Ah, ha ! So here you are, Mr. Runaway," he exclaimed 
in a sarcastic tone. " Well, don t you wish you had staid with 
me?" 

" No, indeed, sir. I would not have missed the late move 
ment for any thing," I replied. 

"Don t you think you would have been better off on The 



A RAVAGE BOUT. 105 

Elm City, than tramping through those dreadful swamps, and 
corning here with a smashed foot? " 

" Perhaps so, colonel ; but I prefer the swamps." 

"I ve a good mind to put you under arrest for deserting your 
post," he exclaimed with a frown on his face. 

" Oh, no, doctor ! You only arrest contract surgeons, for try 
ing to cut off a man s fingers," I replied saucily, for I knew he 
considered the incident a great joke. 

" Ha, ha ! so I do. Well, sergeant, here s your pass. Now 
go aboard the steamer, and God bless you, my brave boy ! " 

That night the steamer dropped down the river; and soon 
after, I entered on hospital life in Baltimore, not seeing my 
regiment again for some months. 



106 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER X. 



AGAIN IN HARNESS. 

" It was a goodly sight 
To see the embattled pomp." 

IN CAMP UNDER THE MOUNTAINS, VA., Nov. 4, 1862. 

EAR WILMOT, I am glad your foot is getting 
strong, for we miss you very much. You would 
have enjoyed our campaign in Maryland if you 
had come out of it with a whole skin as I did ; but 
our poor regiment has suffered terribly. At Ma- 
nassas we got into an awful hole, and, out of five 
hundred and forty officers and men, came off the 
field with less than three hundred. Adjutant Bu- 
ford was killed almost at the moment we went into 
action ; for he was struck in the chest by no less 
than five bullets, while we were all scrambling out 
of a ditch by the side of the railroad. Captain 
Wayland got a ball in his brain soon after, and we 
also lost Lieutenants King and Gellett ; while among the wounded 
were Captain Joyce and Lieutenants Butler, Healy, and Martin. So 
you see, the recruits they have sent us are very welcome : yet we do 
not muster more than five hundred even now ; for at Antietam and 
Sharpsburg we lost nearly sixty in killed and wounded, and didn t 
see much of the fighting either. Poor Beaseley was killed at Antie 
tam by an unlucky bullet ; and, as you were away, I had to make 
Phillips our orderly-sergeant in his place, but that won t stand in 
your way for promotion. Colonel Fletcher is now a brigadier ; and 
as Lieutenant-Colonel Doran died recently of the wound he got when 
we charged that battery in the wheat-field at Gaines s Mills, Major 




AGAIN IN HARNESS. 107 

Lloyd is now colonel. Captain Purcell wears the silver leaf of a 
lieutenant-colonel, and your humble servant is major. Sergeant-Major 
Fitzgerald is to be adjutant, Lieutenant Dickson is captain of Purcell s 
company, and that old growler Burch is of course your captain. A 
whole batch of commissions is expected every day, and General 
Fletcher sent in your name for a lieutenantcy as a reward for 
running away from that hospital-ship. But you must be in the field 
to be mustered in as an officer, so the general hopes you will be 
able to report for duty before we move again. Come right away, 
and bring a uniform and sword with you. Dennis Malone was made 
a corporal yesterday, and is always talking of you. I shall expect to 
see you in a few days. We go into camp to-morrow, near Warren- 
ton. Yours faithfully, 

THOMAS HARDING, 

Major th N. Y. Vols. 
To Lieutenant FRANK WILMOT, 

Laight-street Hospital, Baltimore, Md. 

I had already become impatient of my hospital confinement ; 
and, as I could now walk about, I had already begun thinking 
of returning to the regiment. Our surgeon shook his head 
whenever I spoke of it, and urged me to be patient for a few 
weeks longer, as my foot was still very tender. The major s 
kind letter, and the announcement that I was to be promoted, 
decided the question, however ; and I insisted on being allowed 
to go. Finding me determined, the surgeon put my name on 
the list of convalescents ; and the next day I was on my way to 
the army. 

Arriving at Alexandria, opposite Washington, I found the 
town bustling with excitement, it being the temporary base 
of supplies. The streets were full of wagons, and long trains 
of them were moving toward Fairfax, on their way to the army. 
At the railroad depot, cars were being filled with ammunition, 
spare camion and caissons. Everywhere there was bustle and 
excitement, and it was easy to see that an important campaign 
was contemplated. Already I caught the influence of army 
life, and felt its fascination as strong as ever. Clambering to 



108 BULLET AND Ml ELL. 

the roof of a train, I had hardly settled myself for my rough 
ride, when I found the cars in motion towards Centerville. 

Events in the field, both East and West, had moved rapidly 
during my absence from the regiment. Lee left McClellan as 
soon as the latter had encamped his troops on the James, and 
attacked Pope, then holding the line of the Rapidan. Pope 
made a running fight as he hastily fell back before Lee, from 
Culpepper to Centerville. Washington being threatened, Mc 
Clellan was summoned to Alexandria with his army. Though 
it was impossible to win a victory by the union of two half- 
demoralized armies, the battle of Manassas was fought in haste, 
and, being lost, was repented of at leisure. 

Flushed by success, Lee then boldly crossed the Potomac, 
and advanced as far as Frederick City, in Maryland, before any 
check could be interposed. Stonewall Jackson seized Harper s 
Ferry with an independent column, the garrison surrendering 
without firing a shot. Startled by this change in the game, the 
Government placed McClellan in command of all the Federal 
forces from the Peninsula and the Virginia Valley, when he 
undertook to drive the enemy back. 

By a clever counter-movement on South Mountain, McClellan 
succeeded in outflanking Lee, forcing him to fall back to Antie- 
tam. So well had McClellan got his troops in hand, that when 
he gave battle at Antietam his onslaught had a momentum 
which compelled Lee to retreat across the Potomac. The lack 
of supplies and clothing prevented the Federals entering upon 
a vigorous pursuit ; but when the commanding general did get 
his army in condition to move, he at once re-crossed the Poto 
mac, his troops full of courage. However, McClellan had scarce 
ly entered on his projected campaign, when he found himself 
supplanted by Burnside, and he never entered the field again. 

In the West, Bragg started out on a raid through Kentucky, 
but, being foiled in his advance on Cincinnati, consoled himself 
by declaring Kentucky a Confederate State. The battle of 
Corinth had occurred during our advance up the Peninsula, 



AGAIN IN HARNESS. 109 

arid some progress had been made towards opening the Mis 
sissippi. Memphis had fallen, and the Confederate lines were 
being narrowed. Halle ck being summoned to Washington, 
the command of the Western armies fell on the shoulders of 
Grant, who now held Corinth, Grand Junction, and Memphis. 

But the prospect was by no means an encouraging one ; for 
a new levy of troops had been found necessary, leading to a 
pernicious system of bounties. Even the Confederates were 
dissatisfied ; as their armies were now tasting of the bitterness 
of defeat, and the severity of the ocean blockade was begin 
ning to be felt. In fact, both sections were learning that the 
war would be long and tedious. 

Despite the half-wrecked condition of the railroad from 
Alexandria to Warrenton, my ride to the front was an enjoya 
ble one. As we neared Fairfax, after passing through the line 
of forts occupying the line of hills near Alexandria, signs of 
the presence of an army multiplied. Enormous trains of white 
canvas-topped wagons thronged the stony and hilly roads. Pain 
fully crawling up the steep inclines, or plunging madly into the 
valleys, these wagons covered the face of the country like a 
colony of ants, indicating by their numbers the extensive 
scope of the quartermaster s department. Here and there, 
nestling among the hills, were encamped detachments of troops 
employed in guarding the railroad ; and on our reaching Cen- 
terville, I found more forts, more troops, and a perfect sea of 
wagons. I was at length in the Virginia Valley, and approach 
ing the outskirts of the army. But, beyond the presence of a 
few cavalry pickets, which were scattered over the plains of 
Manassas, I saw no large body of troops until we reached 
Warrenton Junction. This part of the route was full of 
interest to me, for it was the first time I had seen the ground 
since the war began. On leaving Tom Marshall, I had saun 
tered through this section of the country in tolerably happy 
mood. Now how changed was the landscape ! 

The country was destitute of timber; the fences had dis- 



110 BULLET AND SHELL. 

appeared ; and in many places even the dwellings were gone. 
The smiling roads I had tramped over, with their hedges full 
of summer flowers, had been obliterated by the march of 
armed hosts ; and where the plow had turned the furrow 
for a harvest that was never to be reaped, unsightly earthworks 
frowned over the barren, deserted scene. The ravages of war 
were visible everywhere, and thousands of dead men lay only 
half covered by the earth they had fought over. Even the 
birds were mute, for the thunders of the battles had driven 
them to the mountains. Brown, bare, and silent, these desolate 
plains bore striking evidence of the destructive weight of 
contending armies. 

At length I caught sight of tents, and, looking up the valley 
towards the Rappahannock River, saw that every bit of rising 
ground was occupied by troops. At the Junction a few of 
the convalescents on the train left us to join their commands ; 
the remainder going to Warrenton, where the main body of the 
army was encamped. 

By the time our train cleared the confused group of sheds 
and tents at the Junction, the shades of evening had begun 
falling. As the light of day faded away, the darkness was 
strangely tempered by a subdued glimmer, the reflection of 
which rose high in the heavens. It was caused by the camp- 
fires of the great army, like the glow over a distant city. I 
was indeed approaching a city, one built of canvas, which at 
an hour s notice could disappear, only to spring up again miles 
and miles away. 

A sharp turn in the road brought our train out of a belt of 
woods, and a moment after the immense camp of one hundred 
and fifty thousand men lay revealed before us. 

Viewed from the roof of our swaying car, as it rattled over 
the rudely laid rails, the scene was a wonderful one, even to 
me, accustomed to such sights. For miles, as far as the eye 
could reach, up and down the valley, the troops occupied the 
land. In broad bands, scattered clusters, or dense masses, the 



t 




AGAIN IN HARNESS. 113 

teiits occupied every available bit of ground; and, as every 
tent was illuminated by the lights within, their outlines were 
distinctly visible in the gathering darkness. It seemed more 
like a glimpse of fairy-land than a scene in real life. Thousands 
of camp-fires lent additional brilliance to the picture ; while 
high above our heads the sky was full of reflected light, which 
seemed to throw the mountains beyond into deeper and darker 
shadow. The sounds of many voices filled the air, mingling 
with the discordant braying of hungry mules, or the more 
musical neighing of artillery and cavalry horses. Above this 
confused murmur of sounds, rose the thrilling notes of the 
headquarter bugles, as they rang out in silvery cadence the 
usual evening calls ; then the monotonous roll of the drums 
came to my ear, like the bass notes of an organ, as they beat 
the tattoo. Amidst all these stirring sights and sounds, the 
train kept on its mad career until the scream of our locomotive- 
whistle drowned both bugle and drum by its piercing voice, 
rudely waking me from my reverie to discover that we were 
entering the town of Warrenton. 

On descending to the platform, every bone in my body aching 
from the effects of my rough ride, I saw it would be difficult 
to find my regiment in the darkness, so decided to bivouac for 
the night near the depot. From the drivers who thronged the 
platform, I learned that the whole army was now massed to 
gether, and a general movement daily expected. Wrapping 
myself in my blanket after a meager supper, I once more slept 
on the soft earth, waking bright and refreshed early the follow 
ing morning. 

Magnificent as had been the scene over night, the camps 
were fully as picturesque when viewed by daylight. The sun 
had just touched the tops of the mountain range, and wrapped 
them in a mantle of golden light, as I halted on some rising 
ground beyond the town, and gazed at the wilderness of canvas 
before me. Right in front lay the tents of my own corps ; and, 
as the mists rose under the warm rays of the sun, they revealed 



114 BULLET AND SHELL. 

the breakfast fires of the men, while farther on more camps 
extended until lost in the distance. Noisy as had been the 
evening, the sounds were now of greater volume and diversity. 
The bugle and the drum were again active as they summoned 
the troops to the duties of the hour; and black dots in the 
landscape betrayed the presence of the assembling companies. 
Trudging over the dusty road, my heart grew light under the 
influence of these martial sights and sounds; and I felt a 
strange feeling of joyfulness at being once more within the 
limits of the army. The glamour of military life had again 
fallen on my eyes ; and I forgot the cruelty and horror of war 
in the presence of its pomp and magnificence. 

After a walk of nearly a mile, I at length reached our camp, 
receiving a hearty welcome from my comrades. 

The feeling in the army at the sudden removal of General Mc- 
Olellan, on the eve of a new campaign, was one of great bitter 
ness ; for the general possessed that personal magnetism which 
makes popular leaders. The army entertained a great respect 
for Burnside, but it was felt that our old commander owed his 
fall to the machinations of the politicians at Washington. 
However, we had become seasoned by the heat of battle, and, 
being soldiers, were content to do our duty under any com 
mander. 

To my surprise, the army remained in camp where I had 
found it, for nearly a week after my arrival ; Captain Burch 
having ample occasion for indulging in his favorite propensity 
for grumbling. 

At last orders came to move ; and by the middle of Novem 
ber the entire army was on the march, in three grand divisions, 
under Sumner. Hooker, and Franklin, arriving a few days 
after on the banks of the Rappahannock River, near Falmouth. 
Our pickets reported a strong force of Confederate troops on 
the other side of the river, and the next day we saw heavy 
masses occupying the heights beyond the city of Fredericks- 
burg. It seemed foolhardy to attempt the passage of a river in 



AGAIN IN HARNESS. 115 

the presence of such an antagonist as Lee, yet that was what 
our general decided to do. 

Two or three days were lost in useless maneuvers, as if to 
give the enemy ample time to assemble his army, and fortify 
his position. Finally a feint was made below the town, which 
came to nothing ; the fact being explained by General Fletcher, 
telling us that there were no pontoons. 

" There we go again ! " grumbled Captain Burch. " Always 
some delay. Those confounded pontoons will cost us a thou 
sand lives." 

" Yes," said Major Harding ; " and when they get you into 
hospital, I hope they ll mend your temper as well as your 
body." 

The pontoons arriving at last, preparations were made on 
the morning of Dec. 10 for crossing the river. Scarcely had the 
pontoon-train made its appearance on the bank, when a furious 
fire was opened by the Confederate pickets , a few light batter 
ies being also brought into play. Our own artillery then came 
into action, thus presenting the singular spectacle of a battle 
being fought across a river for two or three miles of its length. 
Our brigade was now ordered forward to support and protect 
the engineers while at work. 

We soon reached the place where the upper bridge was 
being laid : so our regiment was thickly planted in the fringe 
of bushes along the top of the bank, finding a sharp shower of 
bullets flying over our heads as we fell into our places. 

The engineers went coolly to work, being partially hidden 
by a fog ; and, as boat after boat was launched, it was rapidly 
placed in position, until it seemed as if the bridge was bodily 
growing out of the river-bank. Under a galling fire of mus 
ketry, these men chopped and hammered as quietly and steadily 
as they would in a workshop or shipyard ; but every few minutes 
some brave fellow would drop his ax or hammer, and slowly 
limp away, or be carried off by his comrades. Still the work 
proceeded with celerity, until it was nearly half-way across. 



116 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Then the men found they could no longer stand before the 
destructive storm of lead that was pouring on the structure. 
As they retired, the reserve artillery of over one hundred guns 
began bombarding the city ; but even this terrible iron hail did 
not silence the Confederate riflemen lying so snugly behind the 
stone wall on the river-bank. Accordingly, a new movement 
was decided upon : our regiment was to cross the river in boats 
above the bridge, while another did the same below. 

With a wild cheer, our men ran down the cutting that led to 
the half-finished bridge, and leaped recklessly into the pontoon- 
boats awaiting us. As we pushed off on our perilous venture, 
our infantry on the bank behind us began a tremendous dis 
charge of musketry, the batteries on the slopes beyond filling 
the air above our heads with percussion-shells. This had the 
desired effect ; for the fire of the enemy s riflemen visibly slack 
ened, though frequent cries and groans in our boats showed 
that it was still effective. 

" By the powers above ! " exclaimed Dennis, as he crouched 
at my feet. " This is the worst yit. Whin I listed for a 
soger, it s little I thought I d ever be a marine." 

"Never mind, Dennis," said I: "somebody had to do this. 
It s an honor for our regiment to be selected." 

44 The divil fly away with the honor, say I ! It s bad enough 
to be killed by a bullet, but I don t fancy being drownded into 
the bargain," muttered Dennis in a dissatisfied tone. 

The distance from the end of the bridge to the opposite bank 
was fortunately very short; and as our boatmen verily plied 
their oars for their lives, we were soon on terra firma. As 
each boat struck the bank, the men sprang into the water, and 
began clambering up with rigid faces and bloodshot eyes. 
When my boat came up, I shouted to my men to follow me, at 
the same instant leaping over the gunwale. In a few minutes 
more we were at the top of the bank, as with a ringing cheer 
the regiment drove back the Confederate pickets. 

It was sharp work, though, while it lasted > and we could see 



AGAIN IN HARNESS. 



117 



a column of infantry coming down to meet us. But our sup 
ports were prompt in joining us, so we were able to present a 
tolerably solid front. While we were thus employed, the work 




of building the bridge had been resumed, and proceeded so 
rapidly that we soon heard the steady tramp of the advancing 
columns over its completed span. In half an hour, sufficient 



118 BULLET AND SHELL. 

troops had arrived to drive in the main line of the enemy, and 
the number of our forces increased every minute. The river 
had been seized. 

Considering the hazardous duty performed by the regiment, 
our loss was comparatively light ; my company losing only three 
men, none of them killed, though the companies on the right, 
which had been the first to cross, suffered more heavily. The 
dead and wounded were sent back in the returning boats, and 
word was passed for the men to lie down and rest. 

The sun had by this time grown sufficiently strong to dispel 
the mists, and the slight hoar-frost on the ground also disap 
peared. The Confederates had evidently abandoned all further 
effort to prevent our army crossing the Rappahannock, for we 
now held undisputed possession of the city. Hour after hour I 
sat on the bank, watching the troops tramping over the bridge, 
while down the river I could see the other grand divisions mov 
ing across. Seeing these thousands of brave men advancing to 
do battle, I thought of those who would never return ; for many 
of them were fated to find graves on the slopes beyond the town. 
But they were all in high spirits, laughing and joking with one 
another as if going to a frolic instead of a deadly engagement. 

By two o clock that afternoon the entire army was over the 
river, and our pickets were savagely at work outside the limits 
of the city. The field-batteries that had come over with their 
several corps were now taking up position on the right and cen 
ter ; while the tremendous mass of heavy artillery assembled in 
front of Falmouth was again beginning to thunder, sending a 
perfect storm of shells into the enemy s lines. 

We were not slow to understand the tactics of our opponents ; 
for already the heights back of the city were alive with men 
busily intrenching themselves, the tops of the range of hills 
frowning with batteries. To face such a line of fire would be a 
terrible task : still our army coolly prepared itself for the ordeal. 
As the sun was nearing the horizon, our brigade was called up, 
and we marched through the streets of Fredericksburg. 



AGAIN IN HARNESS. 119 

Long lines of wounded men were passing to the rear, and the 
frequent relays of hospital stretchers attested the severity of the 
conflict already begun. A continuous roll of musketry sounded 
sullenly on the left ; and then we heard a faint and distant 
cheer, as though some advantageous position had been seized. 
Beyond this we knew nothing of the results attained. Every 
house in the city had been abandoned by its inhabitants, the 
streets being littered with fragments of household property, 
evidence of the haste with which the residents of the unhappy 
town had endeavored to save something from the threatening 
destruction. Shells were falling everywhere, both from our 
own and the Confederate batteries ; crushing in roofs, overturn 
ing chimneys, shattering windows, and filling the air with dust 
and flying splinters. In one street a house had caught fire just 
before we came up ; and a party of pioneers were fighting the 
flames, which were, however, quite beyond their control. 

" Halt ! " cried Colonel Lloyd in obedience to a signal given 
by an officer standing in the street. While we were wondering 
at the order, a column of white smoke suddenly enveloped the 
burning house, followed by an explosion. Then we saw the 
entire building rise in a mass, flying a second after into a mil 
lion fragments. 

"Faith, an that s the way they do the blasting on the 
avenoo," exclaimed Dennis, as loquacious as ever. " But it s 
the first toime I ivir saw a house blown up with gunpowdher." 

At that moment we heard our colonel s voice, urging us for 
ward. With a fierce cheer we dashed over the burning wood, 
and, entering a side street, marched until we were nearly clear 
of the town. There had been some mistake, however, for we 
came to a position already occupied by troops : so the brigade 
faced about, and, turning down a narrow lane, started towards 
the right near the river-bank. This movement brought our 
regiment in the rear of the column. As we were about enter 
ing the lane, an aide came tearing up the street, wildly gesticu> 
latirig with his sword as he leaned over his horse s head. 



120 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Halt ! halt ! " he cried on coming within speaking distance. 
" For God s sake, colonel, bring your regiment, and follow 
me." 

The order was promptly obeyed; and away we went after 
the staff-officer, wondering what new peril was threatening. As 
we reached the main street leading to the bridge, I caught 
sight of a mob of men running disorderly towards us down the 
hill. It was a panic-stricken regiment. 

" Stop them ! for Heaven s sake, stop them ! " exclaimed the 
aide hoarsely. " Stop the cowards, if you have to shoot them 
down ! " 

" Halt ! " shouted our colonel in a stern voice. " Fix bayo 
nets ! " 

The rattle of steel was heard, and the men without further 
orders gathered in solid line to receive the fugitives. I now 
saw that it was one of the new regiments ; and I noticed a 
mounted officer, probably their colonel, riding in the midst of 
the mass, slashing furiously right and left with his saber. 

Those who were in the advance saw our leveled bayonets bar 
ring their passage to the river ; but it was too late for them to 
stop, the pressure behind being so great, that, despite efforts of 
our men, several of the dazed fools were impaled on the rows 
of glittering steel. For a second our column of veterans gave 
way before the impact of the flying regiment, but soon recov 
ered its ground, and the disgraceful rout was checked. 

The colonel, evidently an old army officer, was fairly beside 
himself with rage, and continued to ply his saber savagely on 
the heads of his men, as he bitterly cursed their cowardice. 
Finally he dropped the point of his sword, and burst into 
tears. 

" My God ! I m disgraced for ever ! " he exclaimed in a chok 
ing voice. " Curse you, for a lot of cowardly curs ! You 
deserve to be led out and shot, every man of you." 

" How did this happen ? " asked Colonel Lloyd. " Why 
did they break in this shocking way ? " 



AGAIN IN HARNESS. 121 

" I had just got them into line with the rest of our brigade, 
replied the discomfited commander, "and we were advancing 
in tolerably fair shape, when a shell burst over the battalion on 
our left, and knocked over a score of men. At sight of this 
my left company wavered, and, before we could check them, 
finally broke, and ran towards the rear. The whole regiment 
followed suit, like a flock of sheep going over a wall. If you 
hadn t happened to be at hand, I doubt if they would have 
stopped this side of the river." 

" Well, don t be discouraged," said Colonel Lloyd : " it s 
their first fight, I suppose. When they really get under fire 
they will do well enough." 

" Curse them ! Only let me get the cowards fairly within 
range, and I ll take them into the very jaws of that hell yon 
der ! " exclaimed the old veteran impetuously. 

"Colonel, the general wishes you to bring your regiment 
back to the line," said another aide, riding up. 

" How the devil am I to get them there ? They ll be all run 
ning away again." 

" I ll help you," replied Colonel Lloyd quietly. "Just you 
start them, and we will follow." 

By this time the routed regiment had partially regained its 
formation ; the men apparently beginning to be ashamed of 
themselves, for they listened to the vituperations of their offi 
cers in abject silence. Obeying the command of their colonel, 
the battalion broke into column and marched up the hill, we 
following at a short distance. 

I could not help pitying the poor fellows in the ranks, for 
they were evidently destined to be severely punished for their, 
conduct. By stampeding, many a man now moving toward the 
battle-field had sealed his own death-warrant ; for I knew very 
well that the regiment would be pushed forward without 
mercy. 

Entering a side street, the disgraced regiment moved out over 
the field beyond the town, marching in tolerably steady order 



122 BULLET AND SHELL. 

towards the position assigned it. On, on, it went. A gap in 
the line opened, but the doomed battalion passed through. A 
fierce volley of musketry burst from the low foot-hills, and I 
saw the regiment begin to melt before the terrible storm of 
bullets. The colonel waved his sword a second, then reeled in 
his saddle, and fell dead beneath his horse s feet. It was a ter 
rible example, but a necessary one ; but sad to see so brave 
a colonel sacrificed for his men. 

Colonel Lloyd now gave an order, and we started back to 
find our own brigade, but were again stopped by instructions to 
act as a sort of provost-guard in the streets of the city ; the bat 
talion being soon scattered by detachments, busily employed in 
protecting property and driving stragglers towards the front. 

The firing along the main lines had now greatly slackened, 
and it was evident that some change was being made in the dis 
position of the assaulting columns. Heavy bodies of infantry 
were seen moving towards the extreme left, while others rein 
forced the center under Sumner. It grew dark soon after, and 
though the troops were in constant motion far into the night, 
they moved in silence , the only sounds that came to the ear 
being the pattering shots of the opposing pickets, as they kept 
up an aimless fire amid the darkness. 

Our company was now summoned to escort some prisoners 
to the rear, so we saw no more of the army until it had re 
treated across the river. We were thankful for our escape, 
though our captain grumbled as usual because we had missed 
the disastrous engagement which shattered the army and drove 
its general from his command. 



A FEINT. 



128 



CHAPTER XL 




A FEINT. 

" Behold in awful march and dread array 
The long-extended squadrons shape their way." 

URNSIDE had been succeeded by Hooker, and 
the winter had passed quietly. The woods 
and forests which had hidden the corps and 
division camps when first established had now 
all disappeared, for the axes of the soldiers had 
swept away every tree and shrub for their 
fires. The entire country was bare, not even 
the shade -trees in the fields being spared. 
^ Barns, out-houses, fences, trees, all were gone : 
even the gardens were obliterated. The rav 
ages of war had withered every thing. 

With the beginning of February, signs of a 
new campaign became visible. Supplies of every kind poured 
into the lines of the armies, the hospitals were rapidly empty 
ing, and the ranks of the regiments filled up amazingly. Then 
the grand review the usual prelude to a general movement 
took place. 

It was a clear, warm morning when our brigade started for 
the rendezvous of the army on the plains of Falmouth, opposite 
Fredericksburg. On our arrival, we found the entire command 
on the ground, preparing for the review. The plateau selected 
sloped gradually to the river, with here and there a few slight 
dips in the ground on the right. The cavalry were in front 
ranged in solid masses, by regiments and brigades ; and as our 



124 BULLET AND SHELL. 

regiment took up its allotted position, I saw that the infantry 
to the right and left were rapidly forming in like order. There 
were four lines, two corps in each 9 the regiments standing like 
blocks with their colors in front, while the batteries of artillery 
were placed in the open spaces between the divisions. Our 
brigade happening to be stationed on the highest point to the 
left, I could see the whole army as it stood marshaled in grand 
array, on a plain fully two miles square. 

The sun was shining bright and warm as orders came for the 
men to rest, the slight breeze being just sufficient to stir the 
heavy silken folds of the regimental colors as they waved in 
their tattered elegance. It was a scene for the genius of a 
Vernet, with all its martial glory, and wealth of color. The 
bright rays of the sun flashing on a hundred thousand bayonets 
and sabers, as they were moved at the word of command ; the 
picturesque field-batteries, the dashing cavalry, and the long, 
dark lines of infi 
division, and brig 
of star, crescent, 
ing, animated pic 
stance ; and as 1 



the parti-colored banners of the corps, 
,^e commanders, bearing their strange devices 
hd cross, were the salient points in this liv- 
;ure. It was war in all its pomp and circum- 
vatched the sunlight play in dalliance on the 



burnished steel of gun-barrel and bayonet, or followed with 
curious eye the passage of the clouds, throwing their soft shad 
ows over the assembled host as the breeze carried them swiftly 
over our heads, I began to feel all that warm delight and enthu 
siasm that comes so naturally to a soldier at a time of holiday 
and parade. Here was a mighty army, ready for combat and 
campaign, marshaled in all its massive strength and power. As 
my eye wandered over the striking scene, my cheek glowed at 
the brilliance of the scene and the magic of the hour ; though 
I knew this grand review to be but the prelude to a long sum 
mer of fatigue, danger, and privation. 

We had arrived about the hour of noon ; and, so well timed 
were all the arrangements, there was no confusion, no hesita 
tion. Regiments and brigades and divisions formed with a pre- 



A FEINT. 127 

cision due to long practice and perfect discipline, so that the 
several corps fell into line with marvelous rapidity. As we 
thus prepared for the final ceremony, I could see on the heights 
beyond Fredericksburg (which a few weeks before we had vainly 
tried to win) long brown lines. It was the Confederate Army 
of Northern Virginia gazing at its opponent in the field. There, 
no doubt, were the eyes of Lee, of Longstreet, and of Jackson, 
all fixed upon us. Seldom has an army moved in review before 
such spectators. There was no battle threatened, though the 
two armies were face to face. We were enjoying the brighter 
side of military life : the darker aspect was to follow in the near 
future. Let us enjoy our holiday while it lasts. In- a few 
weeks we must meet those brave men in butternut, in a death- 
struggle. Both armies were equally brave ; and while the one 
paraded to receive the President, the other watched with 
curious eyes the splendor of the pageant unfolded before it. 
As I leaned on my sword, waiting for the signal that was to tell 
us that the review had commenced, I wondered if Tom Mar 
shall was on those heights ; and my thoughts wandered back to 
the happy days in the Valley, and I saw again the old home 
stead, the sweet, saucy face of Kate. Thus meditating on the 
past, and the change that had taken place, I was recalled to 
the duties of the present by the report of a field-piece. It was 
the signal. 

On the extreme left of the front line I had noticed a tall flag 
staff, from which fluttered a huge ensign. As the sound of the 
gun died away, the flag fell and rose again. Then we saw the 
flash and smoke of another cannon ; and, as its booming came to 
our ears, a third was fired. An aide now went galloping along 
the front of the cavalry. Next the bugles sounded the " boots- 
and-saddle " call, and I saw the eleven thousand horsemen 
mount their steeds. Scarcely had the lines grown steady, when 
a battery stationed near the river began firing the national sa 
lute. On the instant we heard a hoarse command, and a broad 
flash of light swept along the cavalry corps as the men drew 



128 BULLET AND SHELL. 

their swords from their scabbards. Amid the smoke of the 
saluting battery, I saw a tall figure on horseback ride toward 
the center of the line. It was the President; and at his side 
rode an officer we knew to be General Hooker, while behind 
them galloped his brilliant staff. As the President rode forward, 
color after color fell in obedience, and now and then a solitary 
sword dropped as the generals tendered their salutes. On, on, 
galloped the brilliant cortege, until the rolling ground hid it 
from our sight. 

Then the infantry bugles began their clamor, and our lines 
grew rigid. When the President came riding back, there were 
more flashes of light as the brigades presented arms, and the 
colors waved tumultuously in the increasing breeze. Up one 
line and down the other galloped the chief of the people, and I 
could distinguish Mr. Lincoln s face as he drew nearer and 
nearer our line. To the shrill note of bugle, and the measured 
roll of drum, our corps now stood ready to give salute. 

"Present arms!" cries our colonel hoarsely; and, as the 
men s muskets pass from their shoulders to the front, I lower 
the point of my sword, and for a moment see a tall form 
crowned with a high black hat, and an erect soldierly figure, 
gallop past, side by side ; and now the staff go thundering by. 

" Shoulder arms ! " and the men remain like so many 
statues, until I hear the clatter of hoofs behind us. As these 
sounds die away, the order to rest is again given, arid we watch 
the closing scenes. By and by the cavalry get into motion, 
wheel swiftly into column, and begin counter-marching to the 
left. Next the lines of infantry break into column; and an 
hour after our own turn comes, and we are in motion. As we 
reached the route of marching review, I could see, over the 
heads of my men, a long line of troops extending over two 
miles in the distance, moving toward the reviewing stand. At 
length we come to a signal-flag. We are approaching the 
President as he waits to see the army inarch by in solid, im 
pressive array. 



A FEINT. 129 

" Guide right, shoulder arms ! " cries our colonel over his 
shoulder ; and a minute after our regiment pushes forward with 
steady, swinging step. Following our colonel s example, I drop 
my sword in salute, and once more catch a glimpse of the 
President s face as he raises his hat in honor of our tattered, 
faded colors. Then comes the order to quicken our steps ; and, 
as we dash on at a headlong pace, we know the review is at an 
end for us. 

The days lengthened into weeks, until at midnight of an 
April Sunday we learned that the long-contemplated movement 
would begin at daybreak. The campaign had at length com 
menced, and the troops were in high spirits as they prepared 
for the march. Extra ammunition and ten days rations were 
served out : so we knew that it was a long and fatiguing march 
we were entering on. 

We were on the road by three o clock, and kept moving 
forward, with few halts, imtil four in the afternoon ; having by 
that time reached the summit of a hilly ridge we recognized 
as leading to the fords on the upper Rappaharmock. 

" I say, Wilmot, I ll have to sup with you to-night, for that 
confounded pack-horse of mine is somewhere in the rear." 

" All right, major : you are quite welcome," said I. 

" I come to you, Frank, for I know you are always well pro 
vided," continued Major Harding, throwing himself beside the 
little fire where Dennis was cooking supper. 

" Shure, major, ye know ye re quite welcome," said Dennis. 
" But we ve only got some fried bacon and an omalate to offer 

ye." 

" Bacon and omelet ! why, Dennis, that s a supper fit for a 
general, let alone a poor major who has lost his baggage. But 
how in the name of wonder, Wilmot, did you manage to carry 
eggs on this hurry-scurry march of ours to-day? " 

" Oh ! I know nothing about it," I replied. " I am so accus 
tomed to Dennis s surprises that I positively forgot to inquire. 
How did you manage, Dennis ? Tell the major all about it." 



130 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Well, ye see, major dear, whin thim ordhers came for us to 
move last night, I had just been down to the sutler s and got 
three dozen eggs; and as the leftinant and me only ate a 
dozen for our breakfast at daybreak, why, I saved the rest 
for our supper ; " and here Dennis gave his frying-pan a turn, 
believing that he had fully explained the whole matter, 

" But how did you save them, corporal? You couldn t carry 
two dozen eggs in a haversack over twenty miles without 
breaking them all," persisted Major Harding. 

"Shure, I broke every one of em before starting: they 
carried safe enough after that," replied Dennis. 

" Will you never come to the point ? " said I. " What do 
you mean by breaking eggs and carrying them afterwards ? " 

" Well, ye see, leftinant darlin , I broke the eggs in a pan, 
and thin poured them into a canteen, and our march stirred 
them up illigantly for the omalate ; " and, as Dennis spoke, he 
gave the mess a clever toss in the air to turn it. 

" Who but an Irishman would have hit on a plan like that ? " 
remarked the major, taking the boiling coffee-pot off the fire. 

"It s glad I am, major, that you think all Irishmen aren t 
fools," said Dennis, dishing up the rude omelet. 

" Fools ! " replied the major, " I never saw an Irish fool in all 
my life. No, Dennis, Irishmen are far from being fools ; though 
I must say they lack wisdom sometimes." 

" That s what they used to call at school a distinction without 
a difference," said I. " But come, let us eat Dennis s canteen 
omelet before it gets cold." 

" An don t be afraid of it. Shure, there s more left where 
it come from," added Dennis. 

"Well, major," said I, after we had discussed our supper, 
" what does this movement mean ? 

" It s intended to be a secret at present. But enough has 
leaked out to show that it is a flank movement on Lee s posi 
tion. We are to be joined at the ford above by the Eleventh 
and Twelfth Corps." 



r$i-ws- : 




A FEINT. 133 

" A flank movement, eh ? Then, that accounts for our early 
start and this hurried march, our small supply-train, and so 
many rations on the men s shoulders." 

" Yes," assented the major ; " though it don t explain the 
absence of my pack-horse." 

" Oh ! never mind : he ll turn up in the morning." 

"I hope so, for we are to make a bold push to reach the 
Rapidan." 

" The Rapidan ! why, we can scarcely do that." 

" We must. General Fletcher said those were the orders. 
We are to cross the Rappahannock at Kelly s Ford, and then 
make a forced march to the other river. If we succeed in doing 
what is laid down for us, Lee will be surprised in more ways 
than one." 

" I hope so," said I. " It would be a splendid stroke." 

" Yes, indeed. But I ll bid you good-night, Frank : I m in 
command of the pickets to-night." 

The corps was roused without sound of bugle or drum before 
daylight the next morning ; and as the sun began reddening 
the eastern horizon, we were already on the road. We made a 
long and painful march that day, over a rough and stony road ; 
finally halting at nightfall a mile or two below Kelly s Ford. 
Our start the third morning was not so early ; but we reached 
the ford by nine o clock, finding the other corps already across 
the river, and waiting for us to join them. 

As we descended the long winding road down the hill 
towards the pontoon-bridges, I saw that the column was a 
complete army in itself. Besides the three corps of infantry, 
I could discern a strong force of cavalry in the advance ; and 
we passed some of the reserve artillery as we stumbled down 
the steep incline. Here were, at least, fifty thousand men of 
all arms: so the movement was indeed an important one. 
Hurrying across the frail bridge, our corps was soon bivouacked 
in the fields reserved for us. 

While the men were thus resting, Gen. Meade made his 



134 BULLET AND SHELL. 

appearance at the head of his staff. When the men of his old 
corps caught sight of their commander, they greeted him with a 
joyous cheer. As the hurrahs rose in the still morning air, they 
were caught up by the other corps, and repeated with vigor. 
The general seemed surprised at first, but, soon recovering him 
self, spurred his horse forward as if to escape the enthusiasm 
of his troops ; but the act only intensified the ardor of the 
welcome. The gray-haired and spectacled veteran then rose 
erect in his stirrups, rode proudly through the surging lines, 
and, lifting his cap high above his head, galloped bareheaded 
out of our sight. The scene vividly recalled the McClellan 
days to my mind. 

But there was no time for cheers or ovations ; for, soon after 
our general disappeared, the entire force was put in motion. 
Our corps was destined to strike Ely s Ford, the other two 
being headed for the Germanna. The distance across the 
tongue of land lying above the junction of the Rappahannock 
and the Rapidan was scarcely twelve miles : so we reached the 
latter stream by sunset, halting in the stony road for our pon 
toon-train to come to the front. The stream proved too strong 
for our frail canvas boats, so the idea of a bridge had to be 
given up. Orders were accordingly passed along the line for 
the men to prepare to wade the river, swollen though it was. 
The scene that ensued was a hilarious one. Officers and men 
inarched sturdily into the river, until nearly all were breast 
high in the cold water ; being compelled to hold their weapons, 
ammunition, and food above their heads. 

It was quite dark when our brigade began crossing. Laugh 
ing and shouting to each other, the men plunged into the icy 
water as though they were schoolboys on a frolic. There were 
no lights to illumine our watery path ; and as I waded I thought 
of Bunyan s description of the River of Death but here 
Death stood waiting on the other side of the river. Many a 
man now laughing merrily was destined to fill a soldier s grave 
in the tangled woods beyond. 



A FEINT. 



135 



It was very cold as we emerged from the water, and clam 
bered up the steep and slippery bank : so our general was com 
pelled, despite the needful secrecy of our movement, to permit 
fires, in order that his men might be in condition to fight on 
the morrow. We had gained a foothold, however ; and, as our 
presence must be revealed at daylight, a few hours made but 
little difference. 

Gathering fence-rails and brush-wood, the troops built big 




CROSSING ELY S FORD, RAPIDAN RIVER. 

fires, and danced merrily in the grateful heat. Wild shouts and 
occasional cheers made the night air vocal ; and as I stood dry 
ing my clothes I could see by the lurid light of our fires that 
the remainder of the corps was still making the passage of the 
river, it being midnight before the rearguard got across. Up 
the river there was more light, showing that the other corps 
had also been compelled to ford the stream. 

Finding my uniform thoroughly dried, I followed Captain 



136 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Burch s example, and wrapped myself in a blanket for sleep. 
But the men were too excited for rest, and they gathered 
round the fires discussing the movement. 

" I tell ye what it is, b yes," exclaimed Dennis, " ould 
Meade s a trump. Won t Lee wake up in the mornin whin 
he hears our guns bangin away at his back door ! " 

" You re right, corporal," replied Sergeant Foster. " But 
I m afraid they ll see our fires." 

" Well, an fhat if they do ? Shure, Hooker will be moving 
in on their front. Thin we ll have the Ribs between us." 

" Of course the main body will be moving. But if those 
bridges hadn t failed us we would not have needed those fires," 
replied the sergeant. 

" Arrah ! thin we d have missed our hot coffee," said Dennis. 

" Bother your coffee ! " retorted Foster. " Wouldn t it be 
better to lose our coffee and make a complete surprise ? " 

" Stop that talking," exclaimed Captain Burch pettishly. 
" You men had better go to sleep instead of bothering your 
heads about our general s plans." 

" All right, captain darlin : shure, won t we find it all out 
in the morning ? " said Dennis ; having, of course, the last word, 
as he coiled himself before the fire, and lapsed into silence and 
slumber. 

The fires began to smolder, the darkness grew heavier ; arid I 
finally fell asleep with the shouts of the artillerists and wagon- 
drivers sounding in my ears as they urged their horses and 
mules through the river. When I awoke again the sun was 
shining bright and warm above the trees. 



FOREST STRATEGY. 



137 



CHAPTER XII. 

FOREST STRATEGY. 

" Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt : 
Nothing s so hard but search will find it out." 

HEN our column got in motion, after a hurried 
breakfast, we found the road from the ford in 
the possession of the artillery and our trains : 
so we pushed bodily through the tangled un 
dergrowth on either side. After struggling 
forward for an hour the corps emerged from 
the labyrinth of vines and creepers into a di 
lapidated plank-road, which intersected the 
dense woods on a line as straight as an arrow 
for two or three miles ahead. Passing a clus 
ter of half-ruined houses, known as Robert 
son s Tavern, we pressed on until late in the 
afternoon, when the command was ordered into bivouac among 
some young oak-woods. By this time we had lost all trace of 
our bearings. As yet there were no signs of the enemy, so 
the situation was becoming both exciting and interesting. 

The next day was Friday, the first of May, and the fifth 
since we had broken camp at Falmouth. It was evident that 
the expected battle would soon occur ; for our movements were 
now slow, and marked with caution and deliberation. We 
were early on the move, marching slowly up the road for a 
mile or two, when we suddenly entered the fields around the 
Chancellor mansion, where I learned General Hooker had estab 
lished his headquarters. Here we found the Second Corps 




138 BULLET AND SHELL. 

massed, and General Fletcher informed us that the Third 
would probably be up before dusk. 

" Then this is the main body of the army," I remarked. 

" Yes," replied our brigadier. " Being largely reinforced, we 
have changed positions." 

"But, general, I thought we were to attack Lee on his 
flank." 

" That was the intention when we crossed the river," replied 
the general. " But something has changed the plan." 

" We seem to have wasted much valuable time since we 
reached this side of the river : why is it ? " 

" Wiser heads than yours have asked that question, Wilmot. 
Even generals do not understand it." 

The column now began moving across the open ground, and 
our brigadier spurred forward to his position in the line. 
Turning sharply to the left, we passed the Chancellor House. 
On the piazza stood General Hooker, his clean-shaven face wear 
ing that look of supreme confidence so characteristic of the 
man. Leaning against one of the pillars the general watched 
our corps march past ; but he received no greeting from the 
men, for there was a feeling in the ranks that a valuable oppor 
tunity had been lost. Citizen soldiers are quick to perceive 
errors and resent them ; for when men come out to fight for 
principle they want no experiments, and will not tolerate inde 
cision or timidity on the part of their leaders. The army had 
begun to doubt its general, so it was not surprising to see a 
corps pass him in silence. Once across the fields, we entered 
a road that pierced a bit of woods on the right, soon after cross 
ing a marshy creek, and again came into some open country. 

As the head of our division emerged from the woods, I saw 
a few dots of smoke, and knew from the sound of the dropping 
shots that our line of skirmishers were going into action. In 
the hollow just behind them I noticed the first division under 
Griffin forming in regular line of battle. General Sykes, our 
division commander, then galloped forward to select our position, 



FOREST STRATEGY. 139 

we following him on the run. Scarcely had we quickened our 
footsteps than the guns of a Confederate battery opened a 
rapid fire on our advancing column from the edge of the woods 
at the other end of the fields. At first we received shells, 
which flew high above our heads ; but finding the distance too 
short they sent us solid shot, almost at point-blank range. 

Whiz ! whiz ! whiz ! went the iron balls ; and a dozen heads 
near me involuntarily ducked as the flying missiles flew 
close. Bang, bang ! whiz, whiz ! now the shot came faster and 
faster ; but they did no harm, so the men trotted along with 
steady, rapid step. At last the gunners got the range. As our 
regiment passed over a rise in the road, I saw that the shots 
had taken effect ahead, for there were several men down ; and 
when we reached the spot where the balls had plunged through 
the ranks of the leading brigade, there were six or eight men 
lying dead in the roadway, and twice as many writhing in the 
ditches on either side. But it was no time for faltering, so on 
went the division at a headlong pace. 

As we passed these dead and dying men, our brigade left the 
road, and began forming in line of battle in the field ; the woods 
on our right being occupied by more troops. It now looked as 
if we were going to engage the enemy in earnest ; for the skir 
mishers were firing furiously, and our batteries began shelling 
the woods in front. 

" Halt ! Lie down ! " cried Colonel Lloyd, as he caught the 
call from our division bugler. We willingly obeyed the order, 
for our sharp run down the road had winded the men. The 
rest was of short duration, however : for the lines in the woods 
on our right began to move forward ; and our leading division 
advanced steadily across the fields, closely following the skir 
mishers, who seemed to be rapidly driving in the Confederate 
pickets. We were soon called to our feet again, and the line 
marched forward in support ; the third division coming down 
the road and taking position behind us. 

"Lieutenant Wilmot," said Major Harding, as he galloped 



140 BULLET AND SHELL. 

along the rear of our regiment, "the colonel desires you to 
take a few men, and set fire to that hut by the roadside : Gen 
eral Fletcher thinks it helps the enemy s batteries to get our 
range. Be quick about it, for those confounded guns are doing 
a great deal of mischief." 

"All right, sir: I understand," was my reply as I summoned 
three or four files to fall out of the ranks. Though I had pur 
posely omitted calling Dennis, I was not surprised to find him 
at the head of my little party, as we ran towards the hut. 

" I didn t call you, corporal. Why did you come ? " I asked. 

" Av coorse ye didn t. Shure, didn t ye know I d come wid- 
out callin ? " replied Dennis naively. 

"You should always wait for orders. You are constantly 
doing the wrong thing." 

" Arrah, leftinant darlin ! don t be angry wid poor Dinnis. 
Don t ye know I d walk through fire and water to sarve ye?" 
And the cunning fellow spoke in the wheedling way he always 
adopted when found fault with. 

I said no more, finding it useless ; though I felt provoked, for 
it had become a recognized fact in the company, that, wherever 
Lieutenant Wilmot went, Corporal Malone was sure to be near 
at hand. 

We had only a short distance to go, and on reaching the hut 
of course found it empty and deserted. It had evidently been 
a negro-cabin, for there was only one room with a sort of rude 
loft overhead. The logs composing the walls were old and dry ; 
and my men busied themselves in collecting some broken fence- 
rails, to build a fire near the chimney. Standing in the door 
way, watching the progress of the work over Dennis s shoulder, 
I was startled by a sudden crash on the roof, a few of the 
rafters and rough shingles tumbling about our ears. 

" Marciful powers ! An what was that ? " exclaimed the 
corporal, ruefully rubbing his cheek, which had been struck by 
a piece of a broken rafter. 

" It was another of those troublesome round shot," said I. 



FOREST STRATEGY. 141 

" The general was right in thinking this shanty a fair mark. 
Hurry up, boys, and get a tire going." 

" Begorra ! an if that ugly bit of iron had come in at the 
windy instead of the roof, some of us wud be dancing a jig by 
this time," remarked Dennis. 

u Or lying dead on the dirt floor," said I. " But there, that 
will do. The logs are in a blaze. Come, men, let us join the 
regiment." 

Scarcely had my party emerged from the hut, when we heard 
another cannon-ball go whizzing through the air, followed by 
a crash which told us it had struck the blazing hut. This time 
the projectile had hit the side wall, and torn a ragged gap 
between the logs. It was a narrow escape. We had left the 
hut just in the nick of time. 

" The saints presarve us, but we d the blessed own luck that 
toime!" exclaimed Dennis as we all involuntarily shuddered, 
and gazed at the shattered wall. "Troth, an that hole will 
make an illigant draught for the fire, anyhow." 

" The deuce take you, Dennis ! " said I, laughing. " Only an 
Irishman would have thought of that. We have had a lucky 
escape, men, and must now overtake our regiment as soon as 
we can ; for here comes the third division on our heels." 

But there was no need of any hurry : for before we reached 
our command the line had halted, and did not advance any 
farther ; the evident intention being to make a feint in strong 
force, and so maneuver for position. The artillery-practice 
continued for half an hour on both sides, with very little 
result in casualties, and then slackened until only two or three 
of our guns were at work. While leading my party back to 
the regiment, we had passed over the abandoned position of a 
battery belonging to Gen. Griffin s division ; the deep furrows 
cut in the sward by the wheels of the pieces showing that it 
had been in action there. A broken caisson lay on the ground, 
and the dead body of an artillerist beside it told the story of a 
Confederate shell. The sight presented by the torn and dis- 



142 BULLET AND SHELL. 

figured corpse was a horrible one, but we had no time to reflect 
upon the man s fate. 

After reaching our places in the ranks, there was a great deal 
of marching to and fro, to very little purpose as it seemed to 
us ; and it was quite dark when we were given an opportunity 
to rest, finding ourselves among some young pines towards 
the left of the fields. The men contented themselves with 
a few of their crackers, no fires for coffee being permitted. 
After waiting for over an hour, we received orders to fall back 
to the creek we had crossed during the day ; and on reaching 
it the corps formed in line along its banks, the others march 
ing to the rear, straight up the road to the top of the hill, on 
the crest of which they began erecting a strong line of breast 
works. 

" There ll be no coffee for us, Master Frank," said Dennis, as 
he sat beside me after our line had been formed. 

" Of course not," I replied. " We can not have fires : they 
would reveal our position." 

" Well, if we can t have hot coffee, we ll be contint wid cowld 
chocolate," responded Dennis mysteriously. 

"What do you mean now, Dennis? Some more of your 
commissariat surprises ? " 

" Shure, a cracker and a chunk of chocolate cake will be bet 
ter than nothin . I ve got a bit in my haversack I saved for a 
rainy day like to-night ; " and Dennis handed me a generous 
share of the cake. 

" Upon my word, Dennis, you re a genius ! This couldn t be 
improved. I really don t know how I should fare if it wasn t 
for you." 

" Oh ! I m a janius, now, am I ? " replied the corporal in an 
injured voice. " Than, why the divil do ye always be a-scoldin 
av me because I always thry to kape near ye, loike this after 
noon whin we burned down that artillery target of a hut ? " 

" Well, well. I ll not find fault with you any more, Dennis. 
But now that you are a corporal, I don t think it quite right for 



FOREST STRATEGY. 143 

you to be my cook. You know I can not induce you to accept 
payment for the service." 

" An is it money ye wud offer me ? Don t ye always pay 
for the extras we get, and haven t I the same as yersilf? Share 
and share alike was yer own words. Troth, Master Frank, an 
I d often go hungry, as the rest of the boys sometimes do, only 
for you." 

" Oh ! if you balance the account in that way, I ve no more 
to say. But what s this? You have two haversacks now. 
One seemed enough this morning. Where did you get the 
other?" 

" Why, I stumbled against it down the road, a bit ; an it s 
half full of sugar." 

" And are you going to keep it ? " I asked. 

" How the divil can I foind the owner now ? " he cried. " It s 
an officer s, because there s so much sugar. As for kapin it, 
there s Bobby Wilson, he lost all his coffee and sugar whin we 
wint swimmin in the river. I ll give him half of it, and share 
the rest among the boys. But I ll kape the shpoon, though." 

" Ah ! there s a spoon, is there ? " 

" Yis ; an an illigant silver shpoon it is too ; an it s got one 
of those things on the handle, we used to see on the quality s 
coaches in dear ould Dublin." 

" I suppose you mean a crest? " 

" Yis. That s it. There s a crown wid a shield undher it." 

" A crown ! Then it s an old relic. Was probably picked up 
in Fredericksburg last December." 

"Maybe so," replied Dennis: "but I got it in the road, so I ll 
kape it." 

At that moment Colonel Lloyd walked along the line, caution 
ing his officers to keep their men awake, but silent. He also 
directed that the men put their knapsacks on. This was proof 
to us that an attack or a movement was anticipated. 

As I lay on the carpet of decayed leaves, I could hear the 
men whispering among themselves, their half-distinct words 



144 BULLET AND SHELL. 

making the enforced silence all the more oppressive. Two 
hours passed ; and I was almost forgetting the order about keep 
ing awake, when Dennis clutched my arm. 

" Hist, leftinant ! Didn t you hear any noise ? " 

" No. Did you ? " 

"I thought I heard a twig snap, beyant there, across the 
creek." 

" You must have been half asleep, Dennis, like myself. A 
broken twig don t signify much." 

As I spoke, however, the sound of a man slipping and 
floundering into the water could be distinctly heard. 

" There, now ! " exclaimed Dennis, " I knew it was a 
man." 

" It must be one of our stragglers trying to find the road," 
I replied. 

" Now, yeou uns ! North Carry-lin-ians, there ! From fower 
ranks to tew ranks, right smart. G-i-t-t ! " cried a strange voice 
among the trees on the other side of the creek. It was the 
Confederate line advancing upon us ! 

The effect was electrical; for on the instant, and with one 
impulse, the men of our brigade sprang to their feet, and poured 
a sudden and murderous volley across the creek. As the crash 
of the guns died away, we could hear infantry precipitately 
retreating among the trees and brush. Then followed the 
groans of the wounded. 

Our brigade volley set the rest of the corps to emptying their 
muskets, and it was several minutes before the fire slackened. 
As we received no counter volleys, it was evident that the Con 
federates had been misled by our fires on the hill, and walked 
unwittingly into our line while forming their own. As our 
position was now revealed, orders came for the men to cut clubs 
with their hatchets, and hammer on the standing timber. This 
and the felling of a few trees by ax-men made a very good imi 
tation of a chopping-bee. Whether it deluded our antagonists, 
or not, we could only conjecture. 



FOEEST STRATEGY. 



145 



Midnight came without any more alarms or musketry, and 
we received orders to move silently to the rear. 

" What s up now, major ? " said I as my old friend passed me, 
while the men were getting ready. 

" We are going to fall back, and take a fresh position. The 
main line is on the hill," he replied : " we have only been acting 
as a blind." 

" There seems to be a great deal too much of these feints and 
blinds," I remarked. 




PASSING THE SLEEPING COUPS. 

" Why, Frank ! are you taking a leaf out of Burch s book ? " 
said the major. 

" Oh ! I m not grumbling ; but the men are not fools, and they 
are getting tired of this forest strategy." 

" Well, well. Let us be patient. Mind, the orders are to 
make no noise." 

The movement was executed very silently. So careful were 
the men, that they carried their tin cups in their hands lest 
the utensils might rattle against their bayonets. Stealthily the 
fifteen thousand men composing the Fifth Corps marched up 



146 BULLET AND SHELL. 

the steep hill, leaving no sound behind them. There was 
something weird in this hurried, silent movement of so many 
armed men, whose muffled tread had a ghostly sound. There 
was no moon, and the stars were hidden by clouds : but there 
was sufficient light reflected from the watch-fires on the hill 
top for one to distinguish the outlines of the trees on either 
hand; and I almost fancied there were leering faces on their 
shadowy trunks, for my eyes were haggard from want of sleep. 
Half-way up the hill, we passed a new picket-line; and I 
ascertained from a sentinel that it belonged to the Eleventh 
Corps. On the crest there was an excellent barricade, behind 
which the main line of the corps was sleeping in long, double 
rows. Pushing across the fields, we passed some more troops 
lying in reserve, and next half a dozen batteries snugly parked. 
With the exception of a few sentinels scattered about here and 
there, all the men were fast asleep. Leaving these dreaming 
warriors, the corps now entered a belt of pine-woods.; and, 
passing down a narrow road for nearly a mile, we went into 
position and line-of-battle. A picket-line was thrown forward ; 
and then the exhausted men flung themselves on the ground, 
and slumbered. 



A NIGHT OF TERROR. 



147 



CHAPTER XIII. 



A NIGHT OF TERROR. 

: O niglit ! when good men rest, and infants sleep, 
Thou art to me no season of repose." 

AWOKE finding the day far advanced. Every 
thing had been quiet along the lines during 
the night, save a few muttering shots from 
some distant picket-post. No orders had been 
received ; and, hidden as we were among the 
pines, no one seemed to know our exact posi 
tion in the line, while a few impatient spirits 
began to imagine that we had been forgotten. 
To me the prevailing silence was oppressive ; 
for I could not forget that these dense and 
tangled woods contained nearly a quarter of a 
million of men ready and eager to fly at each 
Once I fancied that I heard distant cannon 
ading ; but, as no one else could distinguish the sounds, I soon 
forgot them. 

"Well, Harding, what s the news?" said Captain Burch 
about sunset, as the major strolled over to where we were lying 
on the crisp pine-needles carpeting the ground. 

" Good news," replied the major. " They say the First and 
Sixth Corps have crossed the Rappahannock below Fredericks- 
burg, carrying every thing before them." 

"Then that was cannonading you heard, Frank, after all," 
remarked Captain Burch. 




others throats. 



148 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" I thought I was not mistaken," said I. " But, major, how 
far have they carried every thing ? " 

" They ve already taken the city and a portion of the heights 
beyond, and are still pressing the enemy hard." 

" Then, why the devil don t we get to work here ? " exclaimed 
the captain, finding fault as usual. " Why, we haven t fired a 
single shot to-day, and scarcely heard one, either." 

" There s a good deal in what you say, Burch," replied Major 
Harding. "But I make it a rule never to criticise. There 
may be good reasons for this inactivity. We don t know all 
the circumstances attending our movements." 

" I don t care. I think it s a " 

Neither Major Harding nor myself heeded the close of Cap 
tain Burch s angry exclamation ; for at that instant a sudden 
and terrific crash of musketry broke out on our right. Judg 
ing from the constancy and volume of the volley, it was quite 
evident that something serious had happened. 

" What can that be ? " said the captain, forgetting all his 
spleen in the surprise of the moment. 

"A sudden assault by the enemy, no doubt," replied the 
major. " Well, Burch, you can t grumble now at not having 
something to do. We are likely soon to have all we can attend 
to. By Jove ! that musketry is simply terrific, awful work 
going on somewhere ! I wonder where it is. " 

The fusillade of small arms continued with unabated inten 
sity and vigor for several minutes more, until it seemed to 
be coming, like a mighty wave, nearer and nearer ; while the 
racket was now increased by rapid cannonading. Affairs were 
beginning to look serious, and both officers and men fell into 
line without orders. There was no telling when we should be 
called upon to assume our share of the conflict. As we stood 
silently listening to the roar on our right, an officer of our brigade- 
staff rode up, his horse plunging and crashing through the trees. 

" Colonel Lloyd, we are to move to the right. Please make 
haste ! The whole corps is in motion." 



A NIGHT OF TEEEOE. 149 

" By the right flank ! forward ! " shouted our colonel, " double 
quick ! " 

We obeyed the colonel s order, as the aide disappeared to 
repeat his instructions down the line ; and dashed through the 
trees in column, the low dead branches of the pines whipping 
and cutting our faces until we were half-blinded. Finally we 
came to one of those wide paths so common in Virginia woods ; 
and as our regiment entered it, I could see that for nearly half 
a mile ahead the road was full of hurrying troops. Here the 
pace became even more rapid; and our colonel seemed half- 
mad with furious excitement, as he urged us to make more 
speed. Something terrible must have happened to cause this 
headlong rush of the corps. 

" I say, Wilmot, what can be the matter ? " gasped Captain 
Burch as we ran panting side by side together. 

" Why, the enemy must have come up in heavy force from 
some unexpected quarter," I replied, fairly out of breath with 
our long hard run. 

" They re always doing something of that sort," grumbled 
the captain. 

" Keep moving, boys, keep moving ! " cried Major Harding 
cheerily, as he swerved his horse to avoid trampling upon an 
exhausted man who was falling out of the ranks. 

"Troth, major, we re not letting much grass grow undher 
our feet, anyway," replied Dennis hoarsely, the sally causing 
a laugh among the men. 

The musketry increased in vigor and fury as we proceeded, 
and I knew that in a few minutes more we should be on the 
scene of conflict. The rapid firing of the batteries, the cease 
less rattle of small arms, and the shrieks of flying shells, gave 
ample token of the severity of the engagement : so it must be 
a moment of peril for our army. 

All of a sudden the road ended in a bit of open ground, and 
the next moment our regiment was in the midst of a harrowing 
scene of confusion and terror. 



150 BULLET AND SHELL. 

The field was the same we had crossed during the previous 
night, when abandoning our masking position on the creek. 
Then we had moved diagonally over it towards the left of 
Hooker s line : now we came out into a sort of pocket where 
the woodmen had cut a little deeper into the forest. In this 
sheltered field lay several batteries of our artillery, evidently 
a part of the reserve, all huddled confusedly into one corner. 

Rushing impetuously into the open ground, we found our 
passage impeded by tumultuous masses of disordered troops, 
struggling furiously, madly, among themselves. It was not yet 
dark: so I could see that here in this nook were thousands 
upon thousands of panic-stricken men, fugitives who had broken 
in the presence of the enemy, acting more like a flock of fright 
ened sheep in a pen than trained soldiers. Many had thrown 
aside their weapons in their frenzied flight, each man only 
intent on his own temporary safety. It was part of the 
Eleventh Corps, which being taken in flank had fallen back in 
dire disorder. 

Looking over the heads of these frenzied men, I saw, in the 
red light which follows sunset, the Confederate lines, as they 
coolly, steadily advanced over the field to seize their expected 
prize, the field-guns and the broken division. But they were 
too late ; for at that moment the old Fifth Corps tore its way 
through the mob of fugitives, and faced the enemy in solid 
line of battle. 

It was a terrible task, though, to push as we did through 
the confused mass of panic-stricken men, and I remembered 
afterwards that more than one musket had been clubbed, and 
used to clear a path for our advancing columns. Though they 
were our comrades, the men of the Fifth knew that they had 
put the army in sudden peril, and so for the moment treated 
them as enemies. 

The right of our corps, being the first to arrive on the scene 
of disaster and dismay, of course bore the brunt of the des 
perate hand-to-hand struggle which ensued. When our brigade 



A NIGHT OF TERROR. 153 

V 

came up, we were sent to the center of the large open field to 
support the artillery ; and a weary time we had of it. But the 
Confederate advance had by this time been checked : the aban 
doned breastworks were partially retaken and held. 

Nothing is more trying to the nerves of even a veteran soldier 
than a furious battle at night. The darkness conceals the foe, 
and adds to the difficulty of executing the necessary move 
ments. Uncertainty and doubt weigh upon the hearts of the 
bravest; while the impossibility of ascertaining your precise 
position increases the sense of danger, which becomes exagger 
ated because unseen. Laboring under these influences, as the 
brigade stood to arms in the field, I became oppressed by a 
dread I could not easily shake off. It was indeed an awful 
moment. What the end would be, no one could tell. 

It soon grew quite dark, the stars being hidden by the sul 
phurous clouds of smoke that enveloped the battle-field ; and 
our eyes were blinded by the frequent flashes of the guns as 
they maintained an incessant shelling of the woods in front. 
It was curious to see, as the scene was illuminated by these 
rapid artillery-discharges, the frantic efforts of the officers in 
the shattered corps, as they strove to restore order and disci 
pline among their men. They made but little progress, how 
ever ; and, a body of cavalry coming up, both officers and men 
were driven into a corner, and held there until daylight. 

As we took our position behind the batteries going into 
action, I began to think that we were being surrounded ; for 
shells sputtered and hissed over our heads from almost every 
point of the compass, until it seemed that the missiles would, 
the next minute, come tearing through our ranks from the 
rear. But I soon lost all sense of danger amid the sights and 
sounds around me. The deafening roar of cannon, the fierce 
though monotonous rattle of musketry, the detonations of 
exploding shells, and the crash of falling trees, made a hellish 
Babel of sounds ; yet there was a strain of music in the dread 
ful din that accorded with the scene and the hour. Under the 



154 BULLET AND SHELL. 

HI 

crash and swell of this mighty orchestra of war, there was an 
undertone equally trying to the nerves. Fierce curses were 
uttered by excited officers as they gave their hoarse commands, 
and with them there came to my ears the pitiful cries of the 
wounded who were falling all around me in the darkness. 

Leaning on my sword, listening to all these discordant 
sounds, the groan of one of our men, dying almost at my side, 
thrilled me with its mournfulness. Once I was thoroughly 
startled by the screams of a disabled and plunging horse 
attached to one of the caissons just in front of our regiment. 
It was indeed a night of terror. For three long hours we 
stood thus, in the very midst of a passionate combat, passive, 
yet ready to act, losing men every moment, but firing no shot 
in return. At length the woods caught fire from the shells, 
thus adding a new element to the scene of destruction and 
carnage. 

" My God ! this is awful work, Wilmot ! " exclaimed Captain 
Burch in an awed tone. " Here we stand idly waiting to be 
shot down like cattle. Curse those cowards ! A pretty pickle 
they ve put us into ! " 

"You ought to be happy, Burch, at having so much good 
reason for grumbling," said I. 

" There s altogether too much to grumble about. I don t 
like such large doses." 

" By the right flank, forward ! " cried out our colonel. 

We obeyed the order, and moved a little farther to the right; 
but soon after the regiment was sent back to the left. As we 
halted the second time, a fresh battery dashed up, and unlim- 
bered on the ground we had just abandoned. Bang, bang ! 
went two or three of the pieces, the increasing clamor deafen 
ing me. The battery discharged its guns with great rapidity ; 
and as the men loaded by the light of their own pieces I saw 
that they were firing at point-blank range, showing that the 
enemy s lines were close at hand. Using shell and solid shot 
at first, the gunners soon began throwing grape and canister 



A NIGHT OF TEE BOB. 155 

into the edge of the woods ; and orders were passed down our 
line to form and stand steady. Twenty minutes passed with 
out any volleys from Confederate rifles, and the battery was 
withdrawn with the same celerity observable when it went 
into action. As it disappeared, our brigade moved obliquely 
forward to take its place ; and, as we did so, I stumbled over 
the body of a man that had been crushed out of shape by the 
ponderous wheels of the retiring guns. While we were thus 
engaged, two other batteries on our left wheeled their pieces 
round to the right, and began a furious shell practice across our 
front ; the hissing of the balls being startlingly distinct. 

" Now, men, steady ! " shouted our brave colonel in the dark 
ness. " When you get the word, remember and fire low." 

As he spoke, a shell burst over his head ; and, before the light 
was extinguished, we saw both horse and rider go down. A 
cry rose from the ranks ; but it was soon checked, for our ears 
were gladdened by the sound of Colonel Lloyd s voice as he 
disentangled himself from the dead animal. 

" I m all right, boys," he shouted cheerily, his words being 
drowned by a spontaneous cheer. 

At that moment Major Harding rode up, and surrendered his 
horse to the colonel, who at once remounted, and controlled the 
enthusiasm of the regiment. 

All at once, and without warning, we received a volley of 
musketry right in our faces, and a score or two of the men fell 
beneath it. Kneeling quickly at the order, we began pouring 
in a steady, merciless fire towards the woods. The cross-fire 
of our artillery was now redoubled in fury and intensity ; but, 
a few minutes after, orders to stop firing were given. 

There now seemed nothing more for us to do ; the Confeder 
ates changing front, and renewing their assault farther down 
the line. So we lay in position during the remainder of the 
night, listening with curious ears to the progress of the battle 
as it ebbed and flowed around us. I longed for the daylight, 
even if it brought with it a fiercer struggle ; for then we should 



156 BULLET AND SHELL. 

at least be able to see our antagonists, and so lose the feeling 
of uncertainty which now oppressed every heart. Standing in 
the midst of the fight, we remained silent under the shells 
thrown into our devoted ranks by distant and unseen Con 
federate batteries, our own guns maintaining their part in the 
stubborn midnight duel. 

Sitting down on the cold earth, I at length fell asleep from 
exhaustion and fatigue, despite the turmoil prevailing all around 
me. I did not wake again until rudely shaken by Dennis, who 
thus warned me that the regiment was moving. As I fol 
lowed the command off the field, in the gray of the morning, 
I noticed one of my men still sitting on the ground. Going 
up to rouse him, I was shocked to find him dead, his breast 
torn open by the fragment of a shell. 



BEATEN DOWN. 



157 



CHAPTER XIV. 



BEATEN DOWN. 

The beaten soldier proves most manful 
That, like his sword, endures the anvil." 

$ reaching the edge of the woods we met the 
First Corps coming up a road that led to 
United-States Ford. Reynolds and his men 
had marched all night from Fredericksburg, 
and I learned from one of the soldiers that 
S edgwick s corps was now all alone on Burn- 
side s old battle-field. So it was clear that 
Lee had changed front, and was in full force 
in these interminable woods. We had only 
seen the beginning of the struggle : the hard 
est part was yet to come. 

Knowing this, the silence prevailing at the 
moment was ominous. Even the pickets were hushed, and it 
seemed as if both armies were sleeping. Rubbing my eyes 
to keep awake, I could scarcely realize that we had passed 
through so noisy and turbulent a night. Though I was sur 
rounded by all the ghastly evidences of battle, our struggle in 
the darkness seemed more like a phantasmal dream than stern 
reality. Weary and sleepy I staggered on, careless alike of the 
present and the future. 

" Where are we going now, major? " said Captain Burch, as 
our old friend appeared on foot beside us. 

" We are to act on the reserve again," he replied. " Having 
had such a hard night of it, I suppose they consider the corps 




158 BULLET AND SHELL. 

entitled to a rest. It won t be a very long one, I fancy ; for 
things don t look altogether right, to my mind." 

"Why, major!" I exclaimed banteringly, "you are borrow 
ing a page from Burch s book now. Surely you are not getting 
discouraged ? " 

" Discouraged is not the word : anxious would be better. 
You know, Wilmot, I m not given much to croaking ; but we 
are now acting entirely on the defensive, which seems strange 
after our successful flank movement. I can not understand it," 
and the major shook his head mournfully. 

" I must confess to the same feeling," said I. " There seems 
to have been a sad bungle somewhere." 

" You have just hit it, Frank. c Bungle is the only word for 
it. We do seem to have the worst of luck, and always get 
tied up." 

" That s because our generals waste so much time getting 
ready," said Captain Burch. 

" There s some truth in that," replied the major. 

" Oh, well ! it s not our fault, so we must make the best of 
it," said I. " You are a little out of sorts, major, being on foot 
again." 

" Perhaps so," he replied, laughing. " I confess I do feel a 
little out of my element, off my horse ; but Colonel Lloyd 
needs him now more than I do." 

" You came near being made a lieutenant-colonel last night," 
said I. " That was a narrow escape for our colonel." 

" It was a close shave, indeed. But I don t want any pro 
motion to come through my friend s death." 

Neither Major Harding nor myself thought that one year later 
he would find himself suddenly made a colonel on that very 
ground. The future is mercifully hidden from mortal eyes. 

Our division now formed the extreme left of the corps, and 
the rear of our column had just entered the woods when we were 
ordered to lie down under the trees in line of battle. Worn 
out as they were, the men gladly obeyed ; and in a few minutes 



BEATEN DOWN. 



159 



scarcely one of the fifteen thousand was awake. As for my 
self, I had barely stretched my limbs on the carpet of dead 
leaves when my eyes were locked in tired slumber. 

How long I slept, I know not ; but when awakened suddenly 
by a tremendous volley of musketry, the sun had risen high in 
the heavens. So great was the crash, I almost fancied I felt 
the ground quake under me. The outburst had brought the 
whole corps to its feet ; and as we stood listening to the fearful, 
vengeful rattle of small arms, we knew that the enemy was 




ARTILLERY GOING INTO ACTION. 



again making a desperate effort to pierce our lines. Precisely 
where the attack was being made, I could not at first determine, 
for our movements during the night had confused me. It was, 
however, quite near: that was certain. For several minutes the 
corps stood listening with bated breath to the awful, rolling 
sound, yet it lost none of its incessant vigor : on the contrary, 
it grew in volume until fully fifty thousand muskets were en 
gaged. The minutes went on : yet at the end of an hour the 
terrible, incessant volley continued, the roar of the battle being 



160 BULLET AND SHELL. 

made more maddening by terrific cannonading. Being hidden 
in the woods, we could see nothing ; and though accustomed as 
we were to being held on reserve, I felt my nerves thrill at the 
painful suspense. 

" Be the powers, leftinant ! an that s a moighty big scrim 
mage going on beyant, wherever it be ! " ejaculated Dennis, as 
he eased his knapsack against a tree. 

" You are right," I replied : " there s desperate work afoot. 
That musketry is very heavy." 

"Where is it, anyway?" queried the corporal. 

"I know as little as yourself; but, as near as I can judge, it 
must be where we lay all night." 

" Begorra ! an it wasn t much laying down we did lasht 
noight," grumbled Dennis. "Shure, it was the divil s own 
dance we had of it, from first to last." 

The musketry now became even heavier and more fierce than 
before : the battle seemed to be coming nearer and nearer. So 
long a time had elapsed since it began, the affair was becoming 
monotonous. The men were now lying down again, some of 
them even asleep, despite the convulsion of arms going on 
barely half a mile away. 

"Come, Wilmot," said Major Harding: "let us go to the 
edge of the woods, and see what is going on." 

We passed up the road to the left of the brigade ; finding our 
selves, in a few minutes, on the wide field, among a group of 
officers, all watching the movements. As the major and myself 
emerged from the woods, a couple of our corps batteries came 
thundering up, and, passing us at a hand gallop, speedily un- 
limbered on the open ground. A minute after the guns opened 
a shell fire, at long range, over the tops of the trees in front, 
their trunks hidden by a great bank of smoke. The entire field 
was now a scene of terrible confusion. Ammunition- wagons 
were being hurriedly unloaded in the center, the boxes of car 
tridges moving on men s shoulders in the direction of the en 
gaged line ; while hundreds of wounded men were streaming to 



BEATEN DOWN. 161 

the rear, a long string of stretchers accompanying them. 
Neither the major nor myself could distinguish the troops at 
work ; for the ground was covered by a dense white smoke, the 
line of breastworks being marked only by a fierce and angry 
light playing through the sulphurous vapor-. It was the con 
stant flash from thousands of muskets, and so continuous was 
the fusillade that the flame never died entirely away. As we 
looked, a brighter, blinding light appeared for an instant in the 
field, and I knew that one of the ammunition-wagons had been 
set on fire by a Confederate shell. The air was a moment after 
filled with a perfect cascade of fragments : the body of a man 
rose amid the flame and smoke enveloping the vehicle, and then 
came tumbling headlong to the ground. The horses attached 
to an empty wagon near us took fright, dashing wildly into the 
woods, their progress only being stopped by the trees ; while 
the ill-fated driver was hurled from his seat, and killed. 

Still there was no slackening in the murderous musketry, 
the struggle increasing in fury until the woods in which the 
opposing lines were fighting actually caught fire. A blinding 
smoke soon covered the whole field, and penetrated the entire 
forest. Among the trees beyond where the wagon had been 
wrecked, two or three dozen coatless surgeons were at work, 
their arms bare to the shoulder, all busy at their horrid task of 
amputation. Rude tables had been erected in irregular rows, 
and on each lay a mutilated soldier losing a part of his shat 
tered and bleeding body. Groans and piteous cries resounded 
in these forest shambles. It seemed as if hell itself had come 
on earth for a time. 

" Those fellows of ours are fighting manfully, aren t they ? " 
said Major Harding to me. 

" Yes, indeed. The attacking force must be a strong one. I 
wonder why they don t order us up." 

" All in good time : we ll have our share before long. The 
battle has scarcely begun." 

" But those men can not stand that sort of thing all day." 



162 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"No," replied the major; "neither can the Confederates. 
Unless our line gives way soon, Lee will be compelled to slacken 
his fire and withdraw his troops. But come, Wilmot, we must 
not stay here : our corps may soon be moving." 

Orders for us, however, never came ; the corps lying there 
idle all day. For four long hours we sat and listened to the 
ceaseless musketry, it abating no jot of its angry fury. The 
flames in the woods spread, until the smoke became so suffocat 
ing that we were compelled to hug the earth for air to breathe. 
Still the battle continued. Though it had been begun at eleven 
o clock, and my watch now told the hour of three, there were 
no signs of the conflict ending. About four o clock the firing 
began losing its strength. Once broken in volume, the volleys 
slackened rapidly, and there came brief lulls, followed by fiercer 
outbreaks. We knew that the battle was nearing its end. 
Was it a victory, or a defeat, for the Federal side ? 

The lulls in the musketry grew more and more frequent, the 
artillery paused, and finally there came a period of comparative 
silence. At this moment the Third Corps appeared in the road 
on our front, when we learned that a part of our established 
line had been abandoned. The men were weary, and they told 
us of heavy losses. Their faces were blackened by powder, and 
many exhibited traces of bullets in their clothing. One gray- 
haired man had a watch in the case of which a rifle-ball had 
left its mark. A young, boyish-looking sergeant showed me a 
daguerreotype of his mother, a bullet being embedded in the 
center of the picture. He had carried it in the breast-pocket 
of his blouse, where lying over his heart it had undoubtedly 
saved the wearer s life. Throwing open his shirt, the proud 
boy revealed the imprint of the embossed case on his bosom. 

" I wouldn t take the best farm in our county for that pic 
ture," said he. " Mother always said she would pray for me, 
and this is an answer to her prayers. God bless her ! I ve felt 
like crying ever since I found this bullet. That would look 
nice for a sergeant, wouldn t it ? " 



BEATEN DOWN. 163 

" I don t think so," I replied. " It s natural for you to love 
your mother." 

" Of course it is. Well, we made a good square fight of it, 
anyway. Good-by, sir: I must be off; " and the little hero ran 
after his comrades. The troops marching past seemed aston 
ished to learn that we had been idle so near them. Though 
they made no complaint, we felt humiliated at having been 
kept out of the engagement. After the Third, came a part of 
the Second Corps ; and we understood that the line was to be 
extended on the right. 

"You ll have to stand the next assault," remarked an officer 
to me as I gave him a drink from my canteen, " so keep your 
powder dry." 

As the rear of the column slowly straggled by, a group of 
mounted officers appeared. It was General Hooker and his staff. 
Our men began cheering him ; but he held up his hand, and the 
noisy salutation died away as quickly as it had been begun. 

" He s wounded ! " cried out a score of voices as the general 
put his hancb to his head and slightly wavered in his sad 
dle. 

"No, no, boys," responded the general quickly, "not wound 
ed, only a little stunned : I ll be all right by and by." 

The men gave a hearty, gladsome cheer ; the general gallop 
ing forward to escape their enthusiasm. 

Now that the road was clear, our bugles sounded the advance ; 
and we moved forward to a line of breastworks hitherto occu 
pied by our pickets. A dead silence had by this time fallen on 
the woods, and the fighting seemed to be over for the day. 
We had, however, been in position only a few minutes, when 
our ears were saluted by what seemed scattering musketry. 
No attack was made on our line ; and I leaned against the breast 
work, listening to the singular sounds, conjecturing what this 
strange, intermittent firing could be. 

" I say, Wilmot, that s a queer sort of musketry," remarked 
Captain Burch. " It don t sound much like picket-firing, and 



164 BULLET AND SHELL. 

there s not enough of it for breastwork fighting. I wonder 
what it means ? " 

"I am as much puzzled as yourself, old fellow. I never heard 
the like of it before." 

" The fire out yonder must be growing stronger ; for there s 
less smoke, and I feel the heat more. I hope it ain t coming 
this way, though that would be just our luck," continued the 
captain, in his grumbling way. 

" It would be odd indeed," said I, " if we were compelled to 
retreat before the flames instead of the enemy." 

" There ! Don t you hear the fire crackling ? " interrupted 
the captain. " I do plainly. As sure as you live, Wilmot, the 
fire is coming this way. We shall be burned up or burned 
out." 

As he spoke, a sergeant belonging to the pickets came 
scrambling over the pile of logs and earth. 

"What s the matter, sergeant? Are you wounded?" 
I asked. 

" No, sir : I m all right. But I thought this was the Hun 
dred and Fortieth : where are they?" 

" A little way to the right. But why have you come in ? " 

" Why, the woods are all on fire out there, and we re going 
to dig a trench to keep it from spreading: so I ve come in for 
more men and some tools. Do you know the woods over there 
are all full of wounded ? " 

" Good heavens ! Is it possible ? " I exclaimed in horror. 
" Can t you save them ? " 

" Too late, I m afraid. That s been tried already. Why, we 
calculate there are two or three thousand dead and wounded, 
both Federal and Confederate, lying there under the burning 
trees," said the sergeant, disappearing in the direction of his 
regiment. 

" That accounts for the queer musketry, Wilmot," remarked 
the captain. " It s the fire exploding the muskets lying on the 
ground." 



BEATEN DOWN. 165 

" Very likely," I replied ; " but I m thinking of the wounded. 
It s horrible to think of those hapless men being burned to 
death. I ll go and see the major." 

On my telling Major Harding the awful condition of affairs, 
he decided at once to rescue the wounded. He soon gained 
the approbation of our brigadier : so, with a force of nearly a 
hundred volunteers, he and I started for the abandoned bat 
tle-ground. Crossing the field where we had watched the 
progress of the engagement, we found it entirely deserted by 
both armies, but thickly strewn with debris. Knapsacks and 
canteens, muskets, cartridge-boxes and bayonets, shattered 
artillery caissons, and broken wagons, dead horses and men, lay 
scattered on the ground in dire confusion. In the distance, 
towards the Chancellorsville House, I could distinguish a body 
of infantry which I recognized as a Confederate line. As we 
were not going within range of their rifles, our party pushed 
boldly across the corner of the open ground. On reaching the 
left of the line occupied by the Third Corps, we found the 
irregular dropping musketry fire still going on ; and the omin 
ous roar of the advancing flames betrayed the rapidity of their 
progress. As we proceeded, I could hear the screams of pain 
and frenzied appeals for succor uttered by the hapless wounded, 
who seemed doomed to a dreadful fate. 

" Come, men ! into the woods with you, and pick up every 
live man you meet!" cried the major. "In with you, boys! 
Leave your muskets behind you. Lieutenant Wilmot, you 
remain here, and see that the rescued are placed in safety." 

The men quickly unslung their knapsacks, and, sticking their 
bayoneted guns into the ground, disappeared among the trees, 
led by Major Harding. In a few minutes some of them re 
turned, carrying groaning men ; and I busied myself in seeing 
them comfortably disposed of at a safe distance from the fire. 
In doing so, I saw that our fellows were making no distinction ; 
for the blue and the gray came side by side as they had fallen. 
The Confederate infantry we had seen across the field now 



166 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



began firing at us : but after a few rounds they apparently dis 
covered our errand ; for they at once ceased, giving a wild sort 
of cheer to encourage us, their yell sounding strangely amid the 
crackling of the flames. In a few minutes we had thirty or 
forty poor creatures in the field, who loudly cried for water, 
water ! We gave them what we had, and I sent for some am 



. 




BRINGING OFF THE WOUNDED. 

bulances. As I gave the order, Major Harding appeared, his 
face and hands black and grimy. 

" It s no use, Frank. We can do no more. The fire has got 
such headway, we can t face it and live. Heaven help those 
poor wretches ! we can do nothing. My God ! it makes my 
blood run cold to hear them scream ; " and, as he spoke, the 
stout-hearted officer threw himself on the ground, tears coursing 
down his besmeared cheeks. 

It was indeed a hopeless task ; and, as our party re-assembled, 
every man s face grave and awe-stricken, we listened silently to 
the cries of those beyond all mortal aid. Curses and yells of 
pain, piteous appeals and spasmodic prayers, could be distin 
guished ; but though we could hear their voices, we were cut off 
from them by a wall of fire. The flames roared more fiercely 



BEATEN DOWN. 167 

the cries grew fainter, until at last they were hushed. Look 
ing into the burning forest, I saw that every shrub, tendril, and 
sapling was being consumed : even the monarchs of that wild 
region were scorched and killed by the fire. No human being 
could live in the presence of so fierce a heat ; and as the fiery 
torrent rolled on madly, swiftly, we stood and watched its 
progress, knowing that in those few fleeting moments hundreds 
of brave men who had struggled in mortal combat with each 
other, amid the tangled growth of vines and trees, had now 
passed through a horrible death together. 

The ambulances soon arrived, when the men set to work 
placing the rescued men in them. On turning toward the row 
stretched on the earth, I found three already dead, and a fourth 
quietly slipping away into the dark valley. Before all of the 
ambulances were dispatched, seven were dead; their bodies 
being left on the ground where we had laid them. 

" Wilmot, you and I have seen some tough scenes since we 
entered the service," said Major Harding, as we marched back 
to our regiment ; " but this last experience is the toughest of 
them all." 

" Yes, indeed !" I replied. "It s bad enough to find your 
comrades falling all around you, not knowing when it will be 
your own turn ; but to see helpless men burned to death, and 
be unable to save them, is simply awful." 

There was no more fighting anywhere along the line, so the 
day passed into night without further disturbance. At sunset 
news came that Sedgwick was moving on the heights behind 
Fredericksburg, which explained the silence of the Confeder 
ates along our own front. The fire in the woods died away, 
and the night proved a quiet one for us. 

The next day and night we lay in position, hearing Sedg- 
wick s guns, and wondering why we made no aggressive move 
ment. In the morning we learned that Sedgwick had been 
beaten back. The intelligence was received by the men in 
silence, for they knew that Lee had now crippled both wings 



168 BULLET AND SHELL. 

of our divided army. Our general had missed his opportunity. 
Still the troops waited confidently for orders. None came, 
however; and after sunset we were surprised by the appearance 
of the entire reserve artillery, moving silently, secretly, along 
the road. The wheels of the caissons and guns were swathed 
in blankets, and the batteries took the road to the ford. 

" A retreat, a retreat ! " were the words that ran along the 
lines. 

It was indeed a retreat. Lee had out-maneuvered Hooker. 
We were now to fall back across the river. 

The artillery having disappeared, infantry came next, a whole 
corps, followed by more cannon. Then we received orders to 
build large fires along the lines of our position. This move 
ment had a double purpose, that of deceiving the Confeder 
ates, and affording light for the marching columns. The troops 
continued moving far into the night, and I learned from a staff 
officer that the advance had already crossed the Rappahannock. 
No orders came for our corps, so we continued to hold our line 
of battle. A heavy rain set in ; and the men gathered round 
their fires, discussing the situation. A feeling of despair was 
in every heart, for all knew the honor of the army had sus 
tained a blow difficult to recover from. 

The retreat of the other corps lasted until after midnight ; 
the silent, mysterious march of so many armed men, as they 
plodded on through the rain and mud, being an appalling 
spectacle, for demoralization was already visible in the ranks. 
About two o clock in the morning, word was passed down the 
line to increase the fires : so our men proceeded gloomily to tear 
up the breast-works, now useless, and heaped up the friendly 
logs until the woods seemed to be again in flames. By this 
time the army had disappeared : we were evidently alone in 
the forest ; the task of covering the retreat had fallen to us. 
Scarcely had the fires been freshened in their generous glow, 
when our corps was put in motion. Leaving the blazing line, 
we struck off through that part of the woods where the field 



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BEATEN DOWN. 171 

hospitals had located on that terrible Sunday. On we went, 
stumbling in the darkness over ghastly heaps of human legs, 
arms, and hands, grim evidence how active had been the imple 
ments of the surgeons. Among these dreadful proofs of the 
cost of war, lay man}^ a corpse, unburied, uncared for. 

As the day dawned, we emerged from the woods, having fol 
lowed no regular path, being guided solely by occasional cut 
saplings and blazes on the larger trees. In a field near the 
ford, the ground thickly sprinkled with clumps of young pines, 
we found the main body of the army hurriedly crossing the 
river. In a few minutes the corps fell into line to hold the 
approaches to the ford. The men, finding their muskets wet 
and rusty, began snapping caps in harmless fusillade as they 
endeavored to dry the nipples. 

While they were thus engaged, General Meade, our corps 
commander, came slowly riding along the line. 

" What the devil are you doing, men ? " he exclaimed in an 
angry tone. " What s all this noise for ? " 

"Shure, gineral," replied the irrepressible Dennis, "we re 
only thrying to dhry our guns a bit. Faith, an we couldn t 
fire a shot if thim divils should come at us now." 

" Well, you could give them your bayonets," responded the 
general wearily. 

" Yis, sir : so we can," retorted the corporal, determined as 
usual to have the last word. " But if it s all the same to you, 
gineral, we d loike to give em bullets as well." 

" Officers, see that your men do not waste too many caps," 
said the general, endeavoring to hide a smile as he rode on. 

By noon all of the other corps were safely over the Rappa- 
hannock, when it came our turn to cross. As yet we had seen 
nothing of the enemy beyond a few horsemen who appeared on 
some rising ground in the direction of Fredericksburg. On 
moving down towards the ford, we found the road leading to 
the pontoon-bridge in a terrible condition ; the pressure of so 
many thousand feet, and the heavy wheels of the artillery and 



172 BULLET AND SHELL. 

wagons, having cut up the soft wet earth until it was a perfect 
sea of mud, through which we floundered up to our knees. 
The river itself was also greatly swollen by the rain of the 
previous night, and the last remaining bridge seemed in instant 
danger of being swept away. Several hawsers fastened to trees 
on either bank held the swaying structure in position, but we 
were compelled to wade through the increasing freshet before 
reaching the precarious bridge of boats. Our brigade hap 
pened to be the last to cross; and, being detailed to bring up 
the stragglers, Dennis and I were on the bridge when the engi 
neers cut loose the fastenings on the western bank, and sent the 
pontoons swinging round in the angry, foaming current. For a 
moment I imagined we had gone adrift. 

"Begorra, Master Frank, an I don t loike these rivers at all! " 
exclaimed Dennis, endeavoring to keep his foothold. " I very 
toime we get on thim, the wather tries to dhrown us. Shure, I 
volunteered to foight on the land and not in the navy." 

" Silence, you fool," said the engineer officer in charge of the 
bridge. " Stand ready, all, to jump when we near the bank. 
Keep cool, there s no danger." 

" Thank ye for the information, sir," replied Dennis in a low 
tone. " Couldn t ye give us a feather-bed to jump on ? The 
wather s dreadful cowld." 

"If you give me any more of your impudence," cried the 
engineer wrathfully, " I ll fling you overboard." 

" Do as you are bid, corporal," said I. " Captain, give the 
word when you are ready, please." 

He nodded in silence, as he watched the bridge swing round. 

" Stand ready to jump, now jump ! " 

My little party instinctively obeyed, finding themselves waist- 
deep in the icy water ; but in a few moments all had floundered 
safely ashore. 

The road up the steep bank was blocked with broken wagons, 
and the woods were full of men. There was no longer any 
cohesion, any discipline. Corps, divisions, and brigades had 



BEATEN DOWN. 173 

become inextricably mingled together. Regiments melted to a 
company, some even losing their colors for a time. Officers 
and men straggled into the woods to cook such food as 
remained, rank being forgotten for the moment ; for all seemed 
reckless as to the future. Though the army was safe from 
pursuit, the bitter feeling of defeat was uppermost in every 
man s mind. Demoralization reigned supreme. The magnifi 
cent army that had a few weeks before passed in proud array 
before the President was now humbled and shattered. 

Dennis and I scrambled up the rocky defile, and on reaching 
the heights above plodded forward through the mud in hopes 
of overtaking our regiment. But, after a weary march of a few 
miles, we lost all trace of the corps in column, though the men 
composing it were thronging the forest on either hand. 

" Halloa, Wilmot ! where are you going to ? " cried a familiar 
voice. 

Turning to see who spoke, I saw our major lying on the 
ground in front of a fire, near the roadside. 

" Why, I m seeking the regiment, of course. Where is it ? " 

" Everywhere. The whole corps seems to have gone strag 
gling. I sprained my foot among those confounded rocks at the 
ford below, and had to halt here. Come, sit down and rest." 

" This is an awful state of affairs, Harding," said I, accept 
ing his invitation ; Dennis at the same time preparing to cook 
some coffee. 

" You may well say that," replied the major. " But the men 
will soon get over it. In a few days the army will be all right 
again." 

" I hope so, though it s dreadful to see a whole army broken 
and scattered as ours appears to be." 

" Oh ! don t get down-hearted, Frank. We have need of all 
our courage now. It s the fortune of war." 

Finding that Major Harding s sprain was a severe one, Den 
nis and I shared his bivouac for the night. The next morn 
ing he was able to walk with tolerable ease : so we started quite 



174 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



early for our old winter-quarters, picking up such of our men as 
we chanced to overtake on the way. That evening we reached 
our old camp with nearly one hundred muskets, while others 
were still plodding on. We were greeted most heartily by 







RETURN TO THE ABANDONED CAMPS AT FALMOUTH. 

Colonel Lloyd, he being evidently glad to see so many of 
his men once more. No reproof for our absence was uttered ; 
it being considered the most natural thing in the world, in 
presence of the general disorganization. Indeed, the colonel 
informed us that he had ridden into camp with scarcely fifty 
men at his horse s heels, while others had been coming in all 
day. 

Our party comprised nearly all the missing since our roll-call 
on the battle-field, and on the following morning there were no 
absentees unaccounted for. The army was already resuming 
its old formation. 



A PAUSE. 



175 



CHAPTER XV. 



A PAUSE. 

" The war, that for a space did fail, 
Now, trebly thundering, swelled the gale." 

/"T first General Hooker s headlong retreat 
disorganized his army, but its morale remained 
intact and unimpaired : and it soon recovered 
from the stunning blow sustained in the woods 
of Chancellorsville, rapidly regaining all of 
its accustomed elasticity and mobile power. 
It was this quality of recuperation that made 
the Federal Army of the Potomac so grand 
a body of troops. Broken by its efforts to 
seize Richmond under McClellan, and humili 
ated by being compelled to share in Pope s 
- ^ defeat at Manassas, the army had by its des 
perate valor clutched a decisive victory at Antietam, only 
to find itself hurled by Burnside against an impregnable posi 
tion at Fredericksburg. Following Hooker, it had halted on 
the verge of destruction amid a labyrinth of virgin woods ; and, 
now after a few short weeks of rest, was again ready for the 
field, undismayed by the reverses of the past, only remember 
ing its victories and successes. Though the army had been 
greatly weakened by its losses, it longed to meet the enemy. 

April and May passed with the army still in camp, but June 
at last brought the threatening movement. A reconnoissance 
by Sedgwick revealed the fact that Lee had assumed the 
initiative ; and on the day we learned the news, Pleasonton s 




17G BULLET AND SHELL. 

cavalry corps began marching past our division camp. The 
next morning the entire army was in motion. Our corps was 
thrown along the line of the Rappahannock River, above the 
junction of the Rapidan ; and we lay in scattered brigade camps 
until the middle of June. A cavalry engagement between 
Pleasonton and Stuart, on the plains of Brandy, unmasked 
Lee s movement towards the Shenandoah Valley, thus com 
pelling Hooker to attempt a counter-stroke. He accordingly 
set his columns in motion along the interior line. 

It came my turn to go on picket-duty a few days after the 
cavalry fight ; my command receiving ten days rations, for all 
knew that the corps might take the road at any moment. Out 
post duty was to me a decided relief from the stagnation of 
regimental camp-life and routine. It was therefore with posi 
tive pleasure that I rolled up my overcoat and blankets, 
my faithful friend and follower Dennis making a perfect pack- 
horse of himself with a tremendous stock of provisions. 

"Av coorse it s a heavy load now," he replied to my re 
monstrances, " but it will be loighter before we re relaved ; and 
besides, Master Frank, we haven t fur to go." 

" Have your own way, Dennis, as you always do," said I, 
knowing how futile argument was with him. 

" To be shure I ll hev me own way," retorted Dennis. 
" You re an officer, and I ll obey your ordhers to the death , but 
whin it comes to carryin coffee and sugar and a thrifle of a 
ham or two, it s me own back s the masther." 

Bidding my brother officers adieu, I set out with my detail 
for our post of duty. The day was bright and warm ; but the 
woods were delightfully cool and shady in their fresh young 
foliage, our narrow path under the trees being fringed with 
wild flowers, fragrant and beautiful. The twitter of the mating 
birds overhead, the soft hum of the insects, and the splash 
of a brook as its waters went tumbling over the steep bank 
into the river, sounded in my ears as I marched at the head of 
my little column, until I almost fancied myself in my native 



A PAUSE. 177 

woods ; the heavy tread of our party and the clink of steel alone 
destroying the illusion. 

We were to relieve a part of the pickets lying a few miles 
above the junction of the two rivers ; and, as the post was 
scarcely three miles distant from our camp, we were not long in 
reaching our destination. On finding the officer in command, I 
discovered, that, though I had an equal number of men, I was 
expected to cover a longer line than his ; the pickets of the 
other brigade having been, for some unexplained reason, entire 
ly withdrawn, consequently I was assigned to the entire divis 
ion line. As the retiring pickets had been on duty for five 
days, I expected a similar period of service. It was a matter 
of indifference to me, however, for we had an ample supply 
of food ; the men seeming to share my delight at escaping from 
camp duty and drill. Going over the ground to be guarded, I 
ascertained that we held fully a mile of the river, so, while post 
ing my sentries, was careful to caution the men to keep up 
frequent communication with each other, and avoid giving 
needless alarms. 

Having occasion to change the location of the reserve post, 
I directed Sergeant Foster to pick out a suitable position, while 
I arranged the line. By noon I had accomplished the latter to 
my satisfaction, and, after seeing the old picket-guard sling 
their knapsacks and depart for camp, turned my footsteps 
towards the center of our extended position. The spot selected 
by Foster for our reserve bivouac lay among some immense 
rocks that had evidently been piled up on the river-bank, in 
chaotic confusion, by some mighty convulsion of nature. Ad 
mirably adapted for defense, and approached by a rude path 
which wound around the bowlders at the top, the little rocky 
nest was entirely hidden, though we had a complete view of the 
river, both above and below the bend. The dense undergrowth 
that overhung these disrupted rocks formed a leafy canopy 
above our heads, completely sheltering us from the rays of 
the sun. 



178 BULLET AND SHELL. 

I found my men quietly awaiting me ; and, as I at once 
approved of the sergeant s choice, they were not long in making 
every thing snug and comfortable. There was ample room for 
two hundred men ; and, as my whole command was scarcely 
half that number, there was plenty of elbow-room for those off 
duty. 

Dennis soon fixed a quiet corner for me ; while others busied 
themselves in gathering a stock of fuel for our watch-fires, 
finding an abundant supply in a heap of dry drift-wood depos 
ited at the foot of the rocks by the frequent freshets on the river. 

Leaning against one of the massive stones forming the ram 
parts of our natural fortress, I gave myself up to reflection. 
Gazing on the swiftly moving river, its current narrowed and 
deepened in the bend by the intrusive, unyielding presence of 
these conglomerate rocks, and watching the shifting shadows 
as they played on the angry surface of the turbulent stream, I 
thought of the weary marches and thrilling battle-scenes I had 
participated in. The toil, perils, and excitements attending 
army-life gave zest to the present, and led me into bright 
anticipations for the future. I knew the approaching campaign 
was to be a severe and protracted one, but my heart beat high 
with hope as I forecast the probable scope and result of the 
movement. 

" Leftinant, dinner s ready," said Dennis sententiously. 
"Shure, ye must be hungry by this toime." 

I laughed as I turned to obey the summons, for with it had 
flown all my dreams. 

The time passed quickly, and we had been three days on 
picket-duty without any incident happening to disturb us. 
There were no challenges during the night, no signs of the 
enemy by day. Indeed, I began to suspect that we were 
guarding the river against nobody ; for the Confederate pickets, 
who had maintained a pleasant intercourse with our predecessors 
in exchanging coffee and tobacco, were now no longer visible. 
In this belief I was joined by Lieutenant Martin, commanding 



A PAUSE. 179 

the pickets on my left, and we communicated our suspicions to 
the field-officer who visited us ; but he failing to share them, 
we continued as much on the alert as though the opposite 
bank were fringed with hostile riflemen. 

I had just returned from an inspection of my line on the 
afternoon of the fourth day, having found every thing provok- 
ingly quiet and uninteresting. The evening was deliciously 
cool, the breeze down the river being laden with the perfumes 
of the forest ; and I experienced a fresh degree of pleasure in 
viewing the romantic scene after supper. Carelessly lounging 
over the top of a bowlder, smoking my pipe, my thoughts 
began drifting away again; and I had wholly forgotten my 
surroundings, when Dennis suddenly touched my arm ex 
claiming, 

u An what the divil was that ? " 

"Confound you, corporal! what do you mean by startling 
me like that?" said I, angry at the unwonted interruption. 
" What are you staring at, you idiot? " 

" Why, I thought I saw a man down there on the other side," 
he replied, not noticing my reproof, so intently was he peering 
across the river. 

" It seems to me, Dennis, that you are always seeing some 
body or something," I retorted sarcastically. " Hang it, man, 
be quiet ! I see no one ; and, if I did, he can not eat us." 

" Troth, an we wud be a tough mouthful. But, if ye didn t 
see him, Master Frank, I did. Yis : there he is now." 

" Where ? " I whispered, now thoroughly aroused. 

"Why, over there, by that big birch-tree. There he is, 
sitting down on that flat bit of rock, for all the world like a 
big brown toad ; " and Dennis pointed excitedly towards the 
upper end of the bend. 

Following the direction of Dennis s finger with my eyes, I 
saw that he was right. A man was there, sure enough, sitting 
among some rocks at the river s edge, as motionless as if made 
himself of stone. 



180 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" It must be one of the Confederate pickets," said I : " they 
are beginning to show themselves again. Tell Sergeant Foster 
I want him." 

In a few moments Sam was by my side. 

" Sergeant, take your rifle, and pass along our line to the 
right. See that the men are on the lookout. There s ^a man 
down there on the opposite bank, and no doubt more above 
and below. Tell Sergeant Coulter to take the left and do the 
same." 

The two sergeants disappeared on their respective errands ; 
while I continued to watch the stranger, Dennis and the rest 
of my reserve scattering among the rocks for the same pur 
pose. There was no need to enjoin silence, for all seemed to 
appreciate its necessity. 

The sun had gone down, but there was sufficient light left 
for us to discern the man crouching under the trees. I had 
noticed that he had no musket , and, as I watched him, I won 
dered what he intended to do, for it was now evident that his 
presence on the river had a definite purpose. Ten or fifteen 
minutes passed, yet the man made no sign or movement ; and 
I was getting somewhat impatient, when he rose to his feet, and, 
turning round, dragged a log of wood from under the bushes, 
silently launching it into the water. As he did so, I saw that 
he had a revolver slung around his neck. 

" Begorra ! he s going to cross," whispered Dennis, over my 
head. " Shall the b yes give him a volley ? " 

" No, no ! Let him come, and we will capture him. Pass 
the word for no one to fire." 

As I uttered the words the Confederate placed himself astride 
of the log, and plunged boldly into the stream. It was evi 
dently an old experience, for the fellow guided his log so 
adroitly that the current was carrying him straight towards our 
position. I saw that he intended to land among the drift-wood 
under the rocks : so, hastily calling on three or four of the men 
nearest me, I crept down the bank to receive our visitor. By 



A PAUSE. 



181 



this time he had reached the middle of the river, coming swiftly 
towards us, evidently unconscious of the reception awaiting 
him. As he neared the pile of drift-wood, the daring voyager 
shifted his right leg off the log, and, sitting sideways, made a 
sudden leap for the landing. So accurately had he judged his 
distance, that as he abandoned the log he was able to scramble 
up among the loose chips and sticks forming the debris, soon 
rising to his feet. 

"Surrender, sir. 
You re my prisoner ! " 
I exclaimed as I rushed 
forward to seize the 
intruder. 

I was, however, too 
precipitate; for like a 
startled deer the Con 
federate turned before 
I could lay hands on 
him, and with a jeering 
laugh leaped lightly in 
to the river. 

" Fire ! " I shouted. 

At the same moment, I felt the mass of dry wood give way 
under my feet ; and I fell into the water, hearing my men s 
muskets ring out a spattering volley as I took my involuntary 
bath. The current being so rapid, I believed I must swim for 
my life under the shower of bullets my men were sending after 
the fugitive ; but the next instant my outstretched hand caught 
a friendly branch, so I was able to draw myself up to a safe 
footing. Scrambling over the rocks, I saw the Confederate 
gain the opposite bank in safety. As he reached the shore he 
waved his hand derisively, and then disappeared among the 
trees. 

" Are you much wet, lieutenant ? " asked Ferguson, one of 
the men who had accompanied me down the path. 




THE CONFEDEBATE SPY. 



182 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Up to my waist. But that s no matter : it s losing that 
impudent scamp that annoys me." 

" I don t see how we missed hitting him," remarked Fergu 
son. " There must have been twenty bullets sent after him." 

" You all fired too hastily, and he was going with the cur 
rent. I am glad, though, that he escaped unhurt," said I, 
squeezing the water out of my pantaloons. " It would have 
been a shame to shoot him like a rat in the water." 

" Why, you told us to fire I " replied Ferguson reproachfully. 

" I know it. It was on the impulse of the moment. So 
brave a man deserved to get off." And, as I spoke, I led the 
way up the crooked path to our rendezvous. 

Stripping before a fire, I soon dried my clothes, and then 
made a tour of my line. The incident caused considerable 
excitement among the sentries, each man offering his own 
explanation ; but I was convinced in my own mind that we had 
missed a scout who was endeavoring to get through our lines. 

The following day, word came along the chain of sentinels 
that Lieutenant Martin wished to see me. On joining him, I 
found the young officer much excited. 

" Do you know that the corps has broken camp and marched 
away ? " he exclaimed as soon as we met. 

" Impossible ! They would not go away without recalling 
us." 

"But they have, though," retorted the lieutenant. "And 
all the pickets on my left are gone too." 

" Indeed ! How did you find out all this ? " 

" Why, I got out of coffee, and sent one of my men to camp 
for more. He came back, saying the troops had all disap 
peared. He also discovered the absence of the pickets down 
the river." 

" This is a nice fix," said I. " Tell your sergeants to keep a 
sharp lookout while we go and see the officer on the right." 

Sending one of my men ahead to notify the officer above of 
our coming. Lieutenant Martin and myself followed. Half an 



A PAUSE. 183 

hour later we met my messenger, who reported that there were 
no pickets above. This was startling news, for it was quite evi 
dent that through some blunder or accident we had been over 
looked and forgotten. The question was, what were we to do? 
My brother lieutenant, having only recently received his com 
mission, naturally shifted all the responsibility to my shoulders, 
as his senior in rank. 

" I tell you what," exclaimed Martin, after we had discussed 
the matter for some time : u my men discovered a horse and 
equipments concealed in the garret of a house near our post. 
You take him, Wilmot, and ride over the camps yourself." 

" A capital idea. That horse must belong to the scout we 
missed capturing last evening." 

An hour later I was riding through our deserted camp, find 
ing that the corps had indeed abandoned us. The fires were 
all dead and cold, so the column must have moved the previous 
day, if not before. My course was therefore clear : we must 
follow and endeavor to overtake the main body. Strictly 
speaking, I ought to remain until recalled; but I knew that 
it would be ridiculous under the circumstances. 

Early in the afternoon I had assembled both Lieutenant Mar 
tin s pickets and my own. Forming the force into four com 
panies, we soon organized a little battalion. 

" Martin," said I, " you will please act as lieutenant-colonel, 
and take the rear of the column. Sergeant Foster is to be our 
adjutant, and the other sergeants will command the compa 
nies. Corporals, take the line of file closers." 

"All right, Colonel Wilmot," replied Martin, laughing at 
the oddity of our position. 

" Now, men," I continued, " we must do our best to overtake 
the corps, so I shall expect you to move rapidly. If any one 
falls out and straggles, he does so at his own risk. Forward, 
march ! " 

We were a tolerably strong body ; and, though the men were 
somewhat excited over the novelty of our situation, I felt con- 



184 BULLET AND SHELL. 

fident they could be depended upon in case we fell into any 
danger. Dennis, at his own urgent solicitation, was given 
command of the advance-guard, and I also threw out a few 
flankers to prevent surprise. These precautions taken, we 
trudged merrily forward. At the end of two hours we struck 
the main road, finding it ankle-deep with dust : so I ordered my 
men into the fields, and moved briskly on. We knew that 
forced marches would be necessary to overtake the army ; and, 
the men knowing that their only safety lay in keeping well 
together, I had no trouble in holding my little column in tol 
erably good shape. 

After marching eight or ten miles, we halted at night-fall in 
a clump of woods in the vicinity of a small brook, a few fires 
only being permitted. Our sentinels being undisturbed during 
the night, Lieutenant Martin and myself managed to get some 
sleep, though both of us naturally felt very anxious. At day 
break the men were roused, and after a hasty and scanty break 
fast we again hurried forward. 

We were now in a wide tract of open country, broken here 
and there by tiny bits of woods; but there were no signs of any 
large body of troops. The day was a very hot one, and the 
men began to feel the effects of our rapid pace ; but I urged 
and encouraged them as best I could, finding them cheerful 
and responsive to my appeals. At noon we made a halt of an 
hour, learning at a house near by that Federal troops had 
passed the day before ; but, they being horsemen, I could not tell 
how far the corps was in advance. Marching steadily on until 
the sun began to creep down the western sky, we came at length 
to a cross-roads, where I halted my wearied command to decide 
our future route. Both of the roads betrayed the passage of 
troops, but which to take was a perplexing problem. 

"Halloa!" suddenly exclaimed Lieutenant Martin, as we 
stood debating the question. " There s cavalry coming," and 
he pointed down the road to the right. 

" Attention, battalion ! " I shouted, leaping into my saddle. 



A PAUSE. 185 

" Lieutenant, let the men form behind that fence, and see that 
every musket is ready. Courage, boys ! We may have to fight : 
if so, we must give a good account of ourselves." 

A brisk cheer was the only response, as the men obeyed 
orders, and rapidly fell into line. The cloud of dust raised by 
the advancing cavalry came nearer and nearer. The moment 
that was to decide our fate was almost at hand. 

Despite my outward coolness, I was very nervous ; for it 
seemed hard to be overpowered and made prisoners, as we 
might be, when another day would probably place us safely 
within the lines of the army. But, as the approaching cavalry 
was evidently not a very strong force, I determined to fight, if 
necessary, for our liberty. 

By this time the column had discovered our presence ; for it 
halted, and threw out a few troops to reconnoiter. Scarcely 
had these men emerged from the cloud of dust that enveloped 
the main force, when I discovered they were Federals. Im 
mensely relieved, I rode out on the road, and hailed them. 

" Who are you ? " shouted a sergeant as he unslung his car 
bine. 

" Union troops," I replied, " trying to find the army." 

The sergeant wheeled his horse, and, followed by his com 
rades, galloped back to the column. In a few minutes the 
entire body of horsemen advanced, and I saw there were three 
or four squadrons. 

" How came you so far in the rear ? " demanded the major as 
we met in the road. 

" We belong to the Fifth Corps, and were left on the picket- 
line," was my reply. 

" By Jove ! this is a lucky meeting," said the major in a 
gratified tone. " Why, we were coming after you ! The mis 
take was only discovered to-day. You did just right, lieuten 
ant, in coming on : we shall now be able to overtake the army 
to-morrow." 

This was delightful news, for I had no desire to be an inde- 



186 BALLET AND SHELL. 

pendent commander any longer. My little battalion gave a 
rousing cheer as the cavalry rode up : and we were soon trudg 
ing on over the road in high spirits, every knapsack being 
taken by the riders in order to lighten and ease my men. 

While Major Stephens and I rode forward at the head of the 
combined column, I learned from him that the army was con 
centrating towards Centerville, and that it was understood that 
Lee s advance was already beyond Winchester, heading for 
the Upper Potomac. Another invasion of Maryland was in 
tended, and we would soon be on the old ground where the 
army had maneuvered the previous summer under McClellan. 

An early start the following morning enabled us to overtake 
the rear of the army, when my men took back their knapsacks, 
and Major Stephens bade me good-by. There was no further 
need of his protection, and he was all the more anxious to get 
forward on learning that Pleasonton was moving his corps 
towards the Loudon Valley. It took us another day to catch 
up with our brigade, our safe arrival being considered quite an 
event. General Fletcher seemed glad to see us ; but how we 
came to be abandoned, or who was to blame, I never knew, for 
there seemed to be a desire at headquarters to forget the 
incident. 

I found the army in regular campaign order; and after a 
week of almost constant marching we crossed the Potomac at 
Edward s Ferry, and advanced to the line of the Monocacy 
River, halting at length on the outskirts of Frederick City in 
Maryland. 



MOVING TOWARDS B/^TLE. 



187 



CHAPTER XVI. 

MOVING TOWARDS BATTLE. 

His marches are expedients to this town, 
His forces strong, his soldiers confident." 

OW the great army lay in camps around Fred 
erick City. As yet nothing was definitely 
known regarding the movements of the Con 
federate army, beyond the fact that Lee was 
N already overrunning the rich and fertile valley 
. of the Cumberland. We learned that his ad 
vance had reached the Susquehanna River, 
near Harrisburg. All was doubt and uncer 
tainty about our own programme. For two 
years we had marched hither and thither while 
the gigantic game of war was played by our 
several commanders, and now waited patiently 
for the signal that was to hurl our columns against the antago 
nist we had so often met before. Every man in the ranks, 
whether he carried a bayonet or a sword, knew that a great 
and decisive battle was at hand ; yet all felt prepared to stand 
the issue. 

I had been ordered to see a culvert in the road near our 
camp properly repaired. While overseeing the fatigue-party, 
young Jenkins, General Fletcher s aide, rode up. 

" Have you heard the news, Wilmot ? " said he, reining in 
his horse to avoid my men. 

"News! no, I ve heard nothing. We rely on you fellows of 
the staff for that article," I replied with a laugh. " What is 




188 BULLET AND SHELL. 

new now? Are we going to move to-night, or to-morrow? If 
to-night, I must hurry up and finish this culvert." 

"Oh! we won t march to-night. You must know that 
Hooker has been removed, and Meade has been given the com 
mand of the army. That s news, isn t it ? " 

" Yes, indeed. Where did you hear it ? " 

" Down in Frederick, to be sure. General Hooker started for 
Washington at noon. We are to have the official orders to 
morrow. Every thing is in confusion at headquarters, and no 
wonder : this constant change of commanders plays the very 
devil with the army." 

" You are quite right, Jenkins. We are like the shuttlecock 
in the old school-game." 

" Well," replied the young aide, gathering up his reins, " it s 
a comfort old gray-haired George has got it this time. If he 
only does as well at the head of the army with his spectacles as 
he did with our corps, we men of the Maltese cross will have 
good reason to be proud of the old man." 

" Three cheers for General Meade ! " cried one of our men. 

The call was responded to most lustily. 

"You see, Jenkins," said I, "the new commanding general 
will be popular in the old Fifth. But who s to be our new 
corps general ? I hope it s one of the regulars." 

"You have your wish, old fellow. Sykes takes the corps, 
and Ayres carries his long black beard to the head of our divis 
ion. But I must hurry on, or my brigadier will hear the news 
before I reach him." 

Thus came another of those changes which so often tried the 
temper and morale of the Army of the Potomac. General Meade s 
order was read to the troops the following day ; the men smil 
ing grimly as they listened, for these veterans had learned by 
bitter experience how often political intrigue had crippled and 
paralyzed the army. Contrary to all previous usage, General 
Meade refrained from issuing dramatic bulletins, evidently 
appreciating the fact that his troops were not apt to be roused 



MOVING TOWARDS BATTLE. 189 

into temporary enthusiasm by empty words or loud-sounding 
phrases. Simple and direct in his announcement, the new com 
mander won the confidence of his army it once, finding them 
responsive to his touch when the emergency arrived. 

No sooner was the change formally announced, than we 
began moving. Corps after corps broke camp with accustomed 
celerity, marching rapidly through the narrow streets of Fred? 
erick, or skirting the old-fashioned town to the right and the 
left. Our corps was among those to pass through the quaint 
little city, which we found crammed with the impedimenta 
of war. Wagon-trains choked the side streets, waiting in 
helpless confusion for the marching columns to pass, and clear 
the road. Small bodies of cavalry, on escort-duty, forced their 
way through the crush of vehicles, while excited staff-officers 
galloped to and fro, carrying orders to the front or rear. At 
the door of almost every house in the main street, lounged 
groups of mounted orderlies, the men holding their reins in 
their hands in anticipation of a sudden call for duty. General 
officers were abundant, showing that we were approaching army 
headquarters ; and at every window I saw the wondering faces 
of women, as they watched with bewildered eyes the busy and 
martial scene before them. The fluttering of the tattered ban 
ners and colors, the brazen blare of the bugles, the shrill notes 
of the fifes, the reverberating rattle and roll of the drums, gave 
life and sound to the picture, as regiment after regiment, bri 
gade after brigade, division after division, pushed forward with 
steady measured step to the music. 

Marching on the flank of my company through the queer, 
ancient-looking town, with its picturesque gables, its crooked, 
half-paved streets, I imagined myself in some European hamlet. 
The residents even seemed strangely foreign, for they appeared 
to take but languid interest in our movements through their 
streets. The Federals were in possession to-day, to-morrow it 
might be the Confederates. Either way they were pushed 
to the wall, compelled to wait until the tide of war drifted 



190 BULLET AND SHELL. 

away from them, and left the town to its wonted peace and 
quiet. 

With these fancies passing through my head, our regiment 
came to an old tavern that stood in the heart of the city, its 
wide piazza filled with general staff-officers, their broad shoul 
der-straps glittering in the glancing afternoon sunlight. From 
the balcony above drooped the flag of the army-commander, 
and under its waving folds stood General Meade. The hot- 
tempered but good-hearted veteran had checked the head of his 
old corps in their wild greetings to his familiar face : so we con 
tinued to march before him, proudly, silently, with no other 
recognition from our old commander than the occasional lifting 
of his cap as the regimental colors fell in silent salute to his 
rank. I only saw him for a moment, but I thought his eyes 
glistened behind his glasses as he watched the corps march 
past. Erect and motionless the new leader of the mighty army 
stood beneath his great banner as if on parade. As the general 
thus watched the passage of the long column of bayonets, I 
caught brief glimpses of Warren s nervous features, and 
Webb s smiling bearded face as he nodded in reply to some 
remark of Hunt the artillerist. A moment more, and we were 
gone, soon after entering the open country beyond the town. 

Our route now lay to the right ; and as the sun went down 
we crossed a stone bridge which spanned the romantic wind 
ing Monocacy, soon finding ourselves on a high ridge over 
looking the little city. As we marched forward over the 
macadamized road, I noticed two other columns of infantry 
moving through the fields below us ; but they were too far 
away for me to distinguish the corps symbols on the staff 
ensigns. In the road under the ridge, between us and the 
distant infantry, moved the reserve batteries of artillery, in 
ponderous, massive array ; the rumble of the heavy wheels 
coming sharp and distinct to my ears through the still air, as 
the pieces jolted over the stony roadway. Far away beyond 
the town glistened the white tops of the endless supply-trains ; 



MOVING TOWAEDS BATTLE. 191 

and beyond them, again, the rays of th voting sun were 
caught by the shining muskets of more troops in rapid motion ; 
while straight ahead, on our own road, I could see the cavalry 
under Pleasonton and Kilpatrick as they cantered gayly 
onward in advance of the whole army. 

It was evident by all these signs that befoi" i;:any days we 
would reach the expected battle-field. 

"An* whare are we going, leftinant, annyhow?" asked Cor 
poral Malone as he trotted along at my elbow. " When are we 
goin to foight ? " 

" You are as wise on that point, Dennis, as I am. We will 
know soon enough where the battle is to be fought, when we 
get there." 

" Arrah ! any fool knows that, Master Frank. But I hope we 
won t be long getting there, for this knapsack is a thrifle heavy 
for convanient marchin ." 

" We must not be impatient, Dennis, ^ said I. " When it 
does come, the battle will bring death to many of us." 

u Av coorse. That s the forthune of war, more s the pity. 
But the b yes are getting used to that, like the cat we gossoons 
used to throw into the Liffey just for the fun of seeing it crawl 
out agin." 

u Ah, Dennis ! you re the same light-hearted Irishman, no 
matter what happens. Here you are, far away from the Liffey, 
fighting in a strange land, you hardly know what for." 

"Shure, foightin comes as nateral to an Irishman as his 
mother s milk. And as for knowing what we re foightin fr, 
ain t it for liberty or death, as my countryman Pathrick Henry 
said in the good ould days whin the red crass of England was 
furninst him ? " 

"Well," said I, laughing, "I never heard Patrick Henry 
called an Irishman before, though the name is suggestive." 

" To be sure," responded Dennis confidently. tk Though he 
never trod the ould sod, he was a thrue Irishman, wherever 
he was born." 



192 BULLET AND SHELL. 

u He proved himself a brave man in perilous times ; but he 
was an American, ard stood up to defend his native land, while 
you have no such incentive." 

" That s a big word I don t precisely understhand," responded 
Dennis, hitching uneasily at his knapsack. " But shure, I ve 
left dear ould Ii eland for ever, and may as well die on the 
battle-field as in my bed. It s the land of liberty, anyhow." 

" Too much liberty sometimes. If there had been less, this 
war would have been avoided." 

So saying, I lapsed into silence, seeing the evening deepen 
into night, as we moved slowly onward. At nine o clock the 
corps halted for bivouac in some open fields. 

The two succeeding days were toilsome ones ; for we marched 
constantly from early dawn until dusk, over dusty roads, past 
fruitful fields of wheat or corn, across rickety wooden bridges 
too weak to bear the artillery, through thriving and peaceful 
villages, until we reached the border-line between Maryland 
and Pennsylvania. Each night I had flung myself on the 
ground too tired to care for the supper Dennis so cheerfully 
prepared for me ; and I began, like him, to long for the 
approaching battle. Any thing was preferable to these fatigu 
ing, exhausting marches, through rolling valleys or over steep 
mountains. My feet were sore, my head seemed bound by a 
band of iron. My old wound, too, was beginning to make 
itself felt at almost every step, until it required all my pride, 
and strength of will, to keep me in my place. 

Late in the afternoon of the first day of July we reached 
the picturesque town of Hanover. Near the cross-roads were 
lying the bloated carcasses of half a dozen cavalry horses, 
evidently slain in a brief skirmish between Pleasonton s and 
Stuart s troops, a few hours before our arrival. 

Close to the road, near the scene of the cavalry fight, stood 
a farmhouse, at the gate of which was an old-fashioned pump 
and horse-trough. The pump-handle was in constant motion, 
as the weary, foot-sore soldiers flocked around it to quench 



MOVING TOWARDS BATTLE. 



193 



their thirst with the delicious water that flowed into the mossy 
trough. 

Coming up and waiting for my turn to drink, I noticed a 
sunburnt, gray-haired man, leaning over his rude gate, watch 
ing the troops. He was dressed in a faded, well-worn suit of 
homespun, having no doubt spent the day in the hayfield ; and 
I could see that he was pleased that his pump was doing such 
good service. 




THE CONFEDERATE GRAVE UNDER THE ROSES. 

" Good-evening, sir," said I to him, removing my cap, and 
mopping the perspiration from my face. "It s rather hot 
weather, this, for marching." 

" I spose it tis, though I never did any marching," was his 
brief response. 

As the old farmer uttered the words he moved a little ; and 
my eye was attracted by a new-made grave among a clump of 
rose-bushes, just inside the fence. Wondering at the sight, I 
ventured to ask the reason for its being there. 



194 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Whose grave is that ? " said I, pointing to the mound of 
fresh earth. 

" A reb s," he replied laconically. " One that got killed in 
the fight the horsemen had here to-day." 

" Indeed ! and so you buried him." 

" Yes : buried him myself. They left him lyin in the road, 
out thar, just as he fell. I could do no less, you know." 

" Of course ! but why did you make your rose-garden a 
graveyard ? " 

" Wa-al, it was the wimmen that wanted it so. Yer see, 
stranger," and the old man s voice trembled and grew husky, 
" yer see, I had a boy once. He went out with the Pennsyl- 
vany Resarves, and fou t along with McClellan, down thar 
among those Chicka-oming swamps. And one day a letter 
come. It was writ by a woman ; and she told us as how a 
battle had bin fou t near her house, while she and another 
woman lay hid all day in the cellar. When the battle was 
o er, them wimmen came out, and found our Johnny thar, his 
hair all bloody and tangled in the grass. So they digged a 
grave in the soft earth of their gardin, and buried my boy right 
amongst their flowers, for the sake of the mother who would 
never see him agin. So when I saw that poor reb a-layin out 
thar, all dead and bloody in the dust of the road, I sed I d 
bury him. And the gals, they sed, Yes, father, bury him 
among the rose-trees. That s why I did it, stranger." 

Then the poor old father s voice was choked by a smothered 
sob, while a faint cry behind him betrayed the presence of a 
sister to the dead hero lying in his garden grave near Rich 
mond. 

" Indeed, sir," said I, feeling my own throat tighten over the 
sweet pathos of the little story, " I can appreciate the love you 
bear your dead son. It must be some consolation to remember 
what you have done for the man whose body lies there under 
the bushes." 

" Yes, stranger : that ere grave ain t much," and the old 



MOVING TOWARDS BATTLE. 195 

man turned to look at the rude mound his hands had made, 
" it ain t much, but it will be something to remember our Johnny 

by-" 

Bidding the farmer good-by, I hastened after the regiment, 
my eyes dimmed with tears, but my spirits strangely strength 
ened by this touching instance of human love and forgiveness. 



196 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

A NIGHT MARCH. 

"Now was the noon of night; and all was still, 
Save where the sentinel paced his rounds." 

UR corps went into camp just beyond the 
Pennsylvania!! town of Hanover, in a wide 
field of ripening wheat, which was trodden 
flat as the divisions of infantry marched over 
it to their respective positions. The farmer 
owning the land seemed the picture of de 
spair, as he stood at the gap in the fence, 
watching with astonished eyes the ruthless 
destruction of his grain. The unfortunate 
farmer becoming troublesome, I was stationed 
in the road with a guard for the double pur 
pose of keeping him quiet, and at the same 
time preventing our men from straggling towards the town, 
its modest church-spires being visible beyond a strip of woods 
on our right. 

" I say, Mr. Officer," cried the man, as I pushed him aside 
with my sword to let the column pass, u you ve no right to go 
in there. That s my wheat them soldiers are treading into the 
dirt." 

" Oh ! we won t argue the question of rights," said I: " when 
on the march, as we are, armies can not stop for trifles. At any 
rate, your grain is doomed : so stand aside, sir, and let the 
troops go on." 

u But that s wheat. Do you understand ? Wheat! Almost 




A NIGHT MARCH. 197 

ready to cut too. Why didn t that general of yours take his 
men into the meadows ? The grass there is all mown. Why 
does he spoil my wheat ? " 

" My good man," I replied, " I know it seems hard to destroy 
your wheat-crop ; but don t you see that our artillery and 
wagons are going into the meadows ? Had we gone there, they 
would have been compelled to take your wheat-field, and 
ploughed ground is too soft for wheels. Besides, they need the 
hay for their horses and mules." 

" I m a ruined man," groaned the distracted farmer. " Why, 
now they are carrying off my fences ! What are they going to 
do with them ? " 

" Burn em, me darlint," said Dennis, who had, as usual, 
chosen to join my temporary guard. " Shure, thim rails makes 
illigant fires." 

u Fires ! Burn them ! Why, they ll tear down my house 
next." 

" Come, come, my friend. There s no use your staying here, 
for you can not stop the destruction of your property. You 
had far better see the general, and get his certificate of the 
damage done. The government will pay you for it." 

" That so ? Well, if I get the pay for it I don t care how 
much they take," exclaimed the farmer, as he started across 
the fields to find General Sykes. 

" An do ye think Uncle Sam will pay him ? " queried Dennis, 
a look of blank astonishment spreading over his fun-loving face. 

" One of these days, I suppose, though there won t be much 
haste about it," I replied as we fell in the rear of the brigade 
to rejoin our regiment. 

Our expectations of a quiet night s rest were, however, 
doomed to be disappointed ; for the men had scarcely finished 
pitching their little shelter-tents when the bugles sounded the 
ominous call to strike them again for the march. In less than 
an hour after we had entered the wheat-field the entire corps 
was in rapid motion. 



198 BULLET AND SHELL. 

The sun was dropping behind the range of hills we had 
crossed during the afternoon, as we entered the main road. 
We soon learned the cause of this sudden, unexpected move 
ment ; for word ran along the line that the Confederate army 
had been encountered in force at a village called Gettys 
burg, that there had been a heavy skirmish by the First and 
Eleventh Corps under General Reynolds, and that the general 
himself had been killed, so the engagement must have been a 
determined one. Indeed, Major Harding told me that General 
Sykes had received peremptory orders to march all night, and, 
if possible, reach the scene of hostilities before daylight : we 
had therefore a tramp of twenty-odd miles before us. This 
was nice news after the thirty-six miles we had traveled since 
sunrise ; but the necessity was evidently an urgent one, for 
the officers were instructed to keep their men well together. 

Tired and exhausted as I was by the fatigues of the past few 
days, since leaving Frederick City, the knowledge that we 
were now hurrying to the battle-field gave me fresh strength ; 
while Dennis was bursting with delight at the prospect of 
another scrimmage, his sallies keeping the company in excel 
lent humor. 

As darkness fell we entered a string of villages, the inmates 
who were gathered at their gates being wild with enthusiasm 
over our coming. Stalwart men stood unweariedly pumping 
water for the thirsty troops, while the women handed more 
fortunate soldiers broad slices of bread-and-butter with rich 
draughts of pure milk. Over the gateways hung lighted 
lanterns, and from the limbs of apple-trees the stars and stripes 
fluttered in the cool night air. Our veterans cheered lustily as 
they passed under the flags, while the villagers waved their 
hats and handkerchiefs to the men passing onward to do battle 
for them. It was an exciting and wonderful scene. 

Many a touching incident I witnessed during this memora 
ble night march. Young girls shed tears as they watched the 
brothers of other women march on to possible death; while 



A NIGHT MARCH. 199 

many a soldier, begrimed with dust and exhausted by fatigue, 
thought of the old home where he had left his own loved ones. 
Stopping for a moment at the gate of a dwelling, I noticed a 
young mother leaning over it with her chubby child in her 
arms. Above the woman s head swung a couple of common 
stable-lanterns, their soft light falling full upon her face. The 
child was crowing with delight at the strange pageant, as it 
watched the armed host pass on. 

" 1 beg your pardon, ma am," said Jim Manners, one of my 
men, as he dropped the heel of his musket on the ground, and 
peered wistfully into the faces of the mother and her child, 
u I beg pardon, but may I kiss that baby of yours ? I ve one 
just like him at home ; at least, he was when I last saw him two 
years ago." 

The mother, a sympathetic tear rolling down her blooming 
cheek, silently held out the child. Jim pressed his unshaven 
face to its innocent, smiling lips for a moment, and then walked 
on, saying, 

u God bless you, ma am, for that ! God bless you ! " 

Poor Jim Manners ! He never saw his boy again in life , for 
a bullet laid him low the next day as we made our first charge, 
and he found his grave on the field where so many thousand 
brave fellows fell. As we buried him in the twilight, I remem 
bered the kiss he had given the stranger s child, drawing from 
the incident another lesson of the depth of human love. 

So rapidly did the corps march during the night, that, about 
one in the morning, we had arrived within striking distance of 
the position assigned us ; then came the welcome order to lie 
down and rest. As the column halted in the darkness, the 
men threw themselves on the narrow strips of sward by the 
roadside, sleeping in long rows as they lay wrapped in their 
blankets and ponchos. 

For me, however, sleep was not so easy. The excitement of 
the night march, and the pain of my swollen foot, as the tender 
flesh of my old wound rebelled against the strain put upon it, 



200 BULLET AND SHELL. 

combined to drive slumber from my eyes. As I lay on my 
blankets, gazing at the stars, my thoughts were busy with the 
past, back to the days of my boyhood when there was no 
dream of civil war in the land. I saw in fancy the quiet old 
home, as it stood under the shadows of the big elms, while the 
face of my dear mother, who at that moment might be praying 
for the safety of her boy, seemed to be close to mine. Then I 
thought of Kate in her native valley; and we were once more 
galloping over the picturesque roads, the woods resounding 
with our light and joyful laughter. 

But how different were these fancied scenes from those around 
me ! A confused murmur of sounds came to my ears amid the 
darkness, for the movements of troops had by no means ended. 
The low, monotonous rumble of artillery ran along the ground ; 
and, as I leaned on my elbow, I could distinguish the outlines 
of the heavy guns and their caissons, as the batteries moved 
slowly forward to some advantageous position selected for 
them. Now and then a hoarse command was uttered, followed 
by a sudden increase of speed ; and the earth under me trem 
bled and shook with the jarring motion of the wheels as they 
were jolted over the deep ruts in the road. Then came a 
curious clattering sound, which my accustomed ear knew to 
be caused by the hurrying movements of cavalry s and soon 
after a long column of horsemen passed up the middle of the 
road, by the side of which my comrades were so calmly sleep 
ing. Silently yet rapidly these mounted men rode by, their 
heavy sabers jingling in musical cadence as their horses hoofs 
thundered on the soft earth. 

" Steady, men ! " said an authoritative voice ; and the column 
slackened its pace for a minute or two, only to be put into 
swifter movement by the sharper cry of, " Forward ! " 

The cavalry gone, I began to hear the creak of more wheels, 
and saw, in the fields on the opposite side of the road, the faint 
outlines of the ammunition and supply trains going into park to 
await further orders. As I saw wagon after wagon move into 



A NIGHT MARCH. 201 

line with its fellows, their white tops glistening in the uncertain 
starlight, I knew we were still in the rear : the projected battle 
ground must be some distance beyond. 

Listening to all these confused sounds, I realized the majesty 
and magnificence of war, the fascination and romance that 
surround the soldier on actual field-service. The masses of 
infantry, the columns of swiftly moving cavalry, the ponderous 
field-batteries, and the interminable supply-trains supplied the 
principal features of the wild picture, which had a solemn 
dignity about it one could not ignore. To the inexperienced 
eye the confusion would seem inextricable ; but I was aware 
that there was a system in it all, that a decided, persistent plan 
of operations was being carried out. 

Then I thought of the uncertainty of my fate during the 
next few hours. Thousands of brave soldiers, who had passed 
scathless through many a hard-fought battle, would on the 
morrow see their last fight, make their final charge, and from 
living men, full of daring ambition and fervent hope, become 
mere clods of clay. Many a fine fellow would, in the flush of 
his manhood, be lying the next night cold and stiff on the field ; 
and beside these fated ones there were others, who, though still 
alive, would be writhing in pain from wounds that might yet 
end in death. 

Despite all these? horrors that I knew were to come, there 
was a glamour over my eyes ; for I began once again to glory 
in anticipation over the turmoil and fierceness of the approach 
ing struggle. I even forgot the grave issues at stake, so readily 
does the trained soldier become hardened in his trade. It mat 
tered but little to me at that moment, whether slavery was 
crushed, or the Union of the States preserved. I recked nothing 
of the ends in view. It was only the tremendous game of war 
I felt an interest in : beyond that, there was no thought of the 
future. 

It is this feeling that molds the soldier into a true hero, and 
explains the motives of so many brave men passing from coun- 



202 BULLET AND SHELL. 

try to country, from camp to camp, only eager for and intent 
on employment in the field of danger. To these soldiers of 
fortune, the cause they fight for is of secondary importance. 
What they seek is the exhilarating excitement of battle, the 
shock and clash of arms : their whole aim is to join in some 
headlong, desperate charge. The spice of danger is the great 
charm that possesses them, for to your true soldier the fear of 
death never comes. He may experience a nameless dread at 
the first moment of going into action ; but, that once over, he 
is cool and collected, yet full of daring and momentary rage. 
The glare and smoke of battle intoxicate him : the shadow of 
death that hovers over him is lost sight of in the brightness 
and grandeur of the scene in which he is an actor. 

O War ! War ! How natural thou art to mankind ! How 
slow would be the progress of history or civilization, did not 
thy torrent of fire and blood sweep aside every obstacle, thus 
doing at a single stroke what years of diplomacy would fail to 
accomplish ! 

Lying thus on the moist and fragrant earth, with these con 
fused fancies flitting through my brain, I thought once more of 
Tom Marshall, and wondered if he were still alive. It was now 
almost three years since we had parted on the bridge, but be 
yond the one letter received from him in college I had heard 
nothing from or of him. 

" Oh that this struggle were over ! " I exclaimed, forgetting 
all about the romance of war. " Would that to-morrow s battle 
were the last ! " 

With these words on my lips, my tired body succumbed at 
length to fatigue, and I sank into a dreamless and heavy slum 
ber. 



CHARGE AMI) COUNTER-CHARGE, 



20S 



CHAPTER XVITT. 




CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 

" The shout 

Of battle now begun, and rushing sound 
Of onset, ended soon each milder thought." 

HEN the bugles of our corps rang out the 
reveille, the sun had already risen clear and 
warm, throwing long red streaks of light over 
the fields and woods. Leaping to my feet, I 
found every thing already in commotion. 
^\ ^S^Mr Thousands of little camp-fires were blazing in 
" the fields, as the men prepared their frugal 

breakfasts ; the lines of stacked muskets alone 
showing the position of the different regiments 
and brigades. The mists were rising in rifts 
and circling wreaths under the combined influ 
ence of the sun s rays and the heat of the 
countless fires, only lingering among the tree-tops of the adja 
cent woods. The atmosphere was, however, still raw and chilly ; 
the heavy dew that had fallen during the night making the 
grass quite wet. 

In every direction there were signs of intense activity. 
Troops were moving up, the wagons had already drawn out of 
park, and the hum of many voices mingled with the neighing 
of horses or the bellowing of mules. It was, indeed, a true 
battle morning, the beginning of a struggle the result of which 
none could forecast. As I looked about, watching the march 
ing columns or listening to the careless laughter of the soldiers 




204 BULLET AND SHELL. 

near me, I realized that many a joyous fellow, now only intent 
on his hard-tack and coffee, would never see another sunrise or 
respond to the familiar reveille. 

"What are you thinking about, Wilmot?" asked Captain 
Burch. " Getting nervous over the battle ? " 

" Not at all. It was the thought that so many lives must 
be sacrificed to-day." 

" It will be a tremendous fight, no doubt," remarked the cap 
tain. " Some difference from our first battle at Big Bethel, eli ? " 

" That was only a brief skirmish, Burch, compared to what 
we are going to have here." 

" Leftinant, the coffee s ready," said Dennis. " Won t you 
come too, captain ? " 

" Of course I will," replied the captain. " I am as hungry as 
a wild-cat." 

The scene by daylight was far different from what I had 
imagined it to be in the darkness. To my surprise, I saw we 
were near a cluster of houses, the outskirts of Gettysburg. It 
had evidently been a beautiful spot before the remorseless tread 
of the army came to crush out its smiling features. The fences 
had disappeared for fuel, a few scattered posts alone marking 
where they had stood ; even the hedges were destroyed as 
wagons and cannon had been cruelly driven through them ; 
and a barn near by was a complete wreck, the boarding having 
been stripped from the frame to strengthen a bridge over the 
creek for the passage of our artillery. Ruin and destruction 
had begun : the iron heel of war betrayed its presence every 
where, the ruthless despoil of property attesting the unavoida 
ble severity of all military operations. 

Although our corps had not yet received orders to move, 
other troops were on the march ; for a column of infantry 
was hurrying across the fields to our left, their artillery pass 
ing up the road we had occupied during the night. As the 
guns rumbled along, I noticed that they were stripped and 
ready for action. Far away in the rear I could see another 



CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 205 

corps coming up, heading to the right. The army was girding 
up its loins for the struggle. 

While Captain Burch and I were quietly sipping the coffee 
Dennis had provided, an ominous rattle of musketry began 
beyond some woods in front, showing that the pickets of the 
opposing armies were already at work. This was the overture 
to the terrible concert ; these dropping shots sounding musically 
in our ears, as their sharp patter rose and fell. Before we had 
finished breakfast the rolling musketry grew heavier; and a 
battery opened a desultory fire for a few minutes, only to lapse 
into silence again, as the picket duel slackened, and finally 
ceased altogether. 

Our bugles now began their brazen clamor : so I hastily swal 
lowed the last of my coffee, and, buckling on my sword and 
revolver, answered the call for our regiment to fall in. A few 
minutes after, the entire corps was in motion. We went for 
ward for about a mile, when the head of the column turned off 
into a piece of open woods, on the right of the road, where the 
line of battle was formed. As no skirmishers were thrown 
forward, I knew we were still on the interior line, so flung my 
self on the ground while the corps awaited orders. 

An hour passed in silence, our brigade being moved a few 
hundred yards to the left to straighten the line. While thus 
occupied, an aide galloped up, and distributed General Meade s 
order to his army. On the brief address being read by Fitz 
gerald, our adjutant, we learned that our general intended to 
give all the honors of the battle to his soldiers, relying on their 
steadfast courage to successfully carry out the simple plan of 
operations he had decided upon. We were reminded that to 
win the battle was to shorten the war, that to lose it would 
entail fresh sacrifices on the army and the nation. Our antag 
onists were as brave as ourselves : so it would require all our 
heroism, strategy, and strength, to obtain a victory. Such was 
the simple, unpretending appeal of our general ; and it was 
curious to observe the effect it had upon the men in the ranks. 



206 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Every face wore a look of resolution, every hand grasped its 
musket more firmly. It was evident our leader had shrewdly 
touched the right chord this time. The battle was already half 
won. 

This brief ceremony over, the different brigades were formed 
in masses ; and the corps marched slowly, deliberately, en eche 
lon, through the woods into some scattered fields. Finally we 
entered a bit of open country ; and, as the command passed 
obliquely over some rising ground, I caught a glimpse of the 
main line, the outlines of the batteries in position being clearly 
defined against the cloud of white smoke raised by the inces 
sant skirmish-fire now going on. Here we were halted, word 
being passed that we were again to occupy our old position of 
reserve. 

It was evident that the battle would soon begin in earnest, 
that we were only to be summoned when a decisive blow was 
to be dealt. It was an old experience with us. Finding that 
no further maneuvers were contemplated, the men threw them 
selves on the soft earth, and fell asleep. Having passed so 
wakeful a night, I slumbered with the rest. 

I had been asleep some hours, when the headquarter bugles 
rang out the alarm ; every man springing instinctively to his 
feet, as the shrill notes sounded in their ears. The sharp call 
was repeated again and again, as the several commands took up 
the refrain, the entire corps standing to arms before they had 
ceased. Then I saw General Sykes gallop forward with his staff 
over the field ; and the next moment our division began follow 
ing him towards the main line, now fiercely engaged from right 
to left. 

"What s the matter?" I inquired of Major Harding: u where 
are we going ? " 

"Away to the left, somewhere," he replied: "our line has 
got doubled up there. At least, so said the aide who brought 
the orders. He must have come right through the line of fire, 
for his face was bleeding badly when he galloped up." 



CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 207 

44 How doubled up ? I don t understand," said I. 

44 General Fletcher sent our colonel word that Sickles at the 
head of the Third Corps has got into a hole ; so I suppose we 
are going to his assistance." 

44 Close up, men, close up ! " shouted Colonel Lloyd, turning 
round in his saddle. " Major Harding, keep the men well up 
together there, in the center. We shall be on the double-quick 
in a minute." 

The crisis was assuredly a critical one ; for, as we were get 
ting the column into tolerably good shape, the voice of our 
colonel was again heard. Looking up, I saw him standing in 
his stirrups, waving his sword, and urging the regiment forward 
on the run. By this time we had entered a narrow road, with 
thick hedges on either side ; and I saw that the first division, 
under Griffin, was moving over the field on our right in 
columns by brigades, as though anxious to reach the scene of 
conflict before us. We went on in this pell-mell fashion for 
over a mile, still obliquing to the left ; the shells from the Con 
federate batteries beginning to fly over our heads as we ad 
vanced. But their guns had not yet got the proper range, so 
we managed to hold together pretty well. 

All at once a deafening roar of rapid cannonading broke 
out near the head of our column, as the corps batteries, gallop 
ing furiously forward, unlimbered and went into action. The 
musketry we were approaching now grew more intense and 
vengeful. It was quite evident that before many minutes we 
should be in the midst of the mSlee. 

44 General Fletcher ! For God s sake, hurry up your brigade ! " 
cried a young staff-officer as his horse leaped over the hedge 
into the road. u Make haste, sir, or you will be too late." 

As he uttered the words in a passionate manner, the speaker 
once more plunged his spurs into the dripping flanks of his 
foaming steed, and galloped off to urge haste on Griffin s 
troops. He was but a boy in years, though a veteran in cour 
age ; and I watched him admiringly as he dashed across the 



208 BULLET AND SHELL. 

field. He had ridden scarcely a dozen rods when I saw a puff 
of white smoke break over his head, showing that a shell had 
burst ; while at the same instant the doomed officer reeled in 
his saddle, and then fell headlong with his horse to the ground. 
Both had been killed. The young soldier was at rest : the re 
mainder of the battle must be fought without him. 

But I had no time to reflect upon his fate, for just then we 
were called to face our own. As we reached the crest of a 
rise in the road, the situation of affairs was revealed at a glance. 
Below, in a narrow gort of glen, was massed the left of the 
Third Corps, fighting stubbornly, but confusedly, with a strong 
force of the enemy. Colors waved tumultuously amidst the 
wedged mass of men, while mounted officers wildly endeavored 
to restore order, and reform the shattered ranks. A merciless 
fire of musketry and grape-shot was being poured into the flank 
of the devoted corps, and for the moment it seemed as if the 
enemy were carrying every thing before them. 

General Fletcher, our brigade commander, was now riding at 
the side of our column, uttering some orders ; but so deafening 
was the roar of musketry and cannon, I could only understand 
by the look on his face, and the movement of his sword-arm, 
that he was urging us forward. At that moment thirty or 
forty men came hurrying by in a body on their way to the 
rear. Those in the center were carrying a stretcher on their 
shoulders, and I caught a glimpse of a velvet cuff among the 
blankets. 

" Who is it? " cried two or three of our men. 

" General Sickles," was the whispered reply. 

"Much hurt?" 

" Leg shattered by a shell. May be dying." 

As the hospital party disappeared, our division rushed for 
ward with a wild hurrah, in columns by brigade. Soon piercing 
the confused lines of the enfiladed corps, we threw ourselves in 
front, and began forming in line of battle. My regiment hap 
pened to halt at the edge of a small clump of woods, lying a 



CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 



209 



little way to the right of the Little Round Top : and as we fell 
into position, the entire brigade opened a well-directed volley 
on a heavy force of Confederates coming upon our front. 

Scarcely had the men begun emptying their muskets, when 
an order came to cease firing and prepare to charge. Hastily 
reloading their pieces, our men stood pretty steady under the 
galling practice of the enemy s batteries. It was a painful 
period of suspense, to wait thus for the word ; but it was of 



- - . *\ I\M! 




GENERAL SICKLES, WOUNDED. 

brief duration, for just then, the bugles sounding the advance, 
away we dashed across the rocky hollow. 

Right in front, on the other side of the glen, stood a battery 
of some three or four wide-mouthed Napoleon guns. It was to 
take or silence these that the brigade was sent forward. 

" God bless you, Master Frank ! " exclaimed Dennis earnest 
ly, as he seized my hand. " We mayn t see each other alive 
again. Be jabers ! but this is the divil s own scrimmage." 

I returned the honest corporal s grasp without a word, for 
we were already on the move. 



210 BULLET AND SHELL. 

As we crossed the glen at a mad, headlong pace, the guns of 
the battery opened on us with a murderous discharge of grape 
and canister, at close range. But we were now going down hill, 
so escaped the greater part of the shower of iron pellets, which 
went whistling over our heads; though a good many men 
dropped. Before the gunners could reload we were upon them, 
and a desperate hand-to-hand fight ensued. The dash of our 
brigade was so sudden, and our progress across the glen so 
rapid, the movement was a surprise for the Confederates ; con 
sequently the battery fell into our hands before their infantry 
supports could come up. On reaching the muzzle of one of the 
guns I found myself confronted by a tall gunner, who having 
seized a musket made a lunge at me with the bayonet. In 
stinctively warding off the thrust with my sword, the point of 
the fellow s bayonet became entangled in the guard, and I felt- 
it pierce my fingers. Before I could recover myself, Corporal 
Malone sprang to my side, and drove his own bayonet through 
the throat of my brave antagonist, who, with a groan, fell to 
the ground as the piece became our prize. 

The other regiments had meanwhile pushed on to either side 
of the battery, and engaged the attention of the enemy s sup 
ports : so we enjoyed a brief breathing-spell. Looking about 
me, I saw that the battle was now raging furiously on our 
right, the headquarter flag of General Sykes being in the very 
midst of the fierce meUe. The bright flashes of the muskets 
illumined the clouds of powder-smoke, and revealed the ranks 
of the combatants as they struggled, foot to foot, for the mas 
tery. It seemed strange that we should so suddenly have noth 
ing to do in the center of so hot and deadly a combat, but our 
respite was only a temporary one. 

While Griffin s division was uttering a wild, triumphant 
cheer, on seeing the Confederate line stagger and begin to give 
way, the left of our brigade fell off in the direction of the 
Round Top ; and in a minute after our regiment followed in its 
turn. I then saw that the face of the hill was in the hands of 



CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 211 

a considerable force of Confederate troops. Nothing daunted, 
the head of the column gave a rousing cheer ; and up we went 
over the loose, slippery rubble. The Confederates made a 
gallant effort to hold their vantage-ground, but we outnum 
bered them j and though it was a terrible task to clamber up 
the rocks in the face of a galling fire, we accomplished it, 
and were in a few minutes at the very top, with the enemy in 
full retreat. 

It was with a frightful loss, however, that we had won the 
position ; for the rocky hill was thickly strewn with our dead 
and wounded. As I looked about me, trying to discover who 
were missing, my first thought was of Dennis ; for the timely 
aid he had rendered me over the brass gun in the glen was not 
to be readily forgotten. I remembered, that, just after we had 
begun our awful climb through that storm of bullets, I had lost 
sight of him : so I glanced anxiously along the line of my com 
pany, hoping to see his face. As I did so the brave fellow 
appeared by my side. 

" The saints be praised, an I foind ye all roight and safe ! " 
was his joyful salutation. " But what s that? Yer face is all 
bleeding. Are ye much hurt? " 

Putting my hand to my cheek, I was surprised to find it 
covered with blood, for I had felt no wound. Then I remem 
bered that a shell had burst over our heads when half-way up 
the hill. A chip of it must have grazed my cheek. The wound 
was, however, very slight. 

"Oh! it s nothing, Dennis," said I, "only a scratch. Are 
you all right ? " 

" Iviry bit of me is here," responded the corporal quaintly ; 
" though at one toime I thought I was a goner. Down by that 
big stone below, which we had to go round, I fell behind, for 
me fut shlipped ; and I found mesilf all alone, forninst a big fel 
ler who had hid behind the rock. Begorra ! before I could 
say 4 How are ye ? he sthruck his murdherin gun into me face. 
I belaved mesilf a dead man ; but just then a bullit kem along, 



212 BULLET AND SHELL. 

and tuk him by the side of the head. He forgot to pull his 
trigger, so I come up and left him." 

As Dennis finished his speech, Colonel Lloyd appeared. 

" Wilmot, have you seen any thing of Adjutant Fitzgerald ? " 
he asked. 

" No, colonel, not since we left the glen," I replied. 

" I hope he s not hit," said the colonel. 

" Well, I think he is," remarked Captain Burch : " I saw him 
stumble and fall just as we passed through that line of alder- 
bushes below." 

" Some of you run down and find him," said the colonel. 

Half a dozen men darted over the crest of the hill towards 
the alders ; soon returning with the adjutant, who was evidently 
badly wounded. 

" Well, Fitz," said I, leaning over the poor fellow, as they 
laid him down, kt what is it ? Where are you hit ? " 

" Somewhere in the chest," he responded faintly : " I don t 
exactly know where. But I m afraid it s all up with me." 

" Don t say that, Fitzgerald," exclaimed the colonel. " Ah ! 
here s the doctor. He will soon put you to rights." 

Surgeon Humphrey s face wore a grave look as he gazed at 
the wounded officer. Kneeling down, he opened the adjutant s 
coat and shirt, then silently rose to his feet. 

" It s mortal," he whispered to me, with a mournful shake of 
his head. " Who is to tell him ? " 

The dying man had, however, narrowly watched the surgeon, 
reading his own fate in the averted face and whisper. 

" Well, doctor ? If I m going to die, why don t you say so, 
and be done with it?" he exclaimed petulantly. 

" I m afraid you are badly wounded, Fitzgerald," replied Sur 
geon Humphrey ; " but I ll have you carried to the rear, where 
you will rest easier." 

" No ! no ! Let me stay here with the boys. Let me die 
with them around me. Ah ! I shall never form the parade for 
them again. Good-by, colonel. Good-by, Frank : you ll find 



CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 



my mother s address in my note-book here. When I am dead, 
Frank, write her how I died, and tell her my last thoughts 
were of her. Dear old mother ! This will be sad news for 
her. You will write, Frank, won t you ? " 

" Yes, Fitz, if I live," I replied. 

" Ah ! yes, I forgot. This fight isn t ended yet. If not you, 
Frank, some one else must do it." 

As the adjutant uttered the words in a faint, weary manner, 
a loud cheer rose from the glen. 

"What s that?" he exclaimed in a stronger voice, trying to 
rise. " What s 
that cheer 
for?" 

" The ene 
my has fallen 
back. We have 
regained the 
lost ground," 
replied the sur 
geon as he 
wiped the dy- 
i n g man s 
damp brow. 

" That s good. Lift me up, Frank. Let me see them once 
more." 

We lifted him tenderly, and he took a long and wistful look 
into the glen. Griffin had taken up a strong position, and was 
now holding his line intact. Though full of smoke the scene 
was readily understood by Fitzgerald. 

" Thank God ! we have driven them back," said he. " I m 
glad to know that. Good-by, boys ! Good-by, Zou-zous ! 
Don t forget Tom Fitzgerald when he is gone. Good-by, 
Frank ! Remember my mother. Re mem ber 
mo ther." 

And as the brave spirit fled, we laid the dead body on one 




THE DYING ADJUTANT. 



214 BULLET AND SHELL. 

side to prepare for continuing the battle. Orders had been 
passed down the line for the men to imitate their fellows on 
the lower ground, and build breastworks out of the loose 
stones so abundant on the hill-top. In a few minutes a low, 
irregular wall rose in serried outline along the crest of the 
hill; while the pickets, half way down, dug little pits with their 
hands in the rubble to protect them from the bullets that were 
still whizzing about their e*ars. 

As I was watching the men build their rude stone breast 
work, Dennis touched my elbow, whispering, 

"I say, leftinant, there s Gineral Warren. Maybe ould 
Meade ain t fur off." 

"Where?" 

" Right over there. Don t ye see him sitting on that stone 
beyant?" 

" Yes : now I do. I wonder what he is doing here." 

"He s looking to see if there isn t a chance for another 
scrimmage," muttered Malone. " Shure, he s niver so happy as 
when there s a rigilar row." 

While he was speaking, the general rose from his seat, and 
approached me. 

" Lieutenant, do you know General Crawford when you see 
him ? " he asked. 

" Yes, general, quite well," I replied. 

" Well, he s waiting with his division down there," pointing 
towards the road over which we had advanced an hour or two 
before. " I want to give him an order, and have no aide with 
me." 

" I ll go with pleasure," said I, thrusting my sword into its 
scabbard. " What is your message, general ? " 

" I want him to charge over that glen again. Don t you see 
they are forming to storm this hill ? We must anticipate their 
charge by one of our own." 

"Would t it be better for me to bring General Crawford 
here ? You can explain the situation to him." 



CHARGE AND COUNTER-CHARGE. 215 

" Yes," replied General Warren. " If you can do so quickly. 
Otherwise tell him to move forward at once, and charge on 
that line to the right of those rocks ; " and he pointed to the 
spot where we had advanced on the battery. 

" All right, sir," said I, running along the ridge. 

I had gone some fifty paces towards the rear when I met a 
mounted officer, his horse carefully picking his way over the 
loose stones. It was General Crawford. 

" I was sent to look for you, sir," said I to him. " General 
Warren wishes to see you." 

" Where is the general ? " 

" Just above, sir. I ll show you the way," I replied, retra 
cing my steps. 

" What ! haven t you gone yet ? " angrily exclaimed General 
Warren as I re-appeared. " Didn t I tell you " 

" Here is General Crawford, sir. I met him coming to meet 
you," I interrupted ; for I well knew how quick-tempered the 
general could be. 

" Oh, all right ! I beg your pardon, lieutenant. Why, 
Crawford, where in the devil s name have you been ? " 

"Where you left me," replied General Crawford quietly. 
" Having received no orders, I came to see if we were needed." 

" I want you to take four or five regiments into this Devil s 
Glen, as these men have aptly named it," said General Warren. 
" It s a hot place, though. Are your men in good spirits ? " 

"Never better. They are really impatient at being kept 
standing idle under fire." 

" Well, lose no time in taking them in. Send out a heavy 
skirmish-line, and charge with your main force. Break up that 
movement of the enemy before they get too strong. Do you 
think you can do it ? " 

"If it s possible for any troops, general, the Pennsylvania 
Reserves can do it," said General Crawford somewhat haughtily, 
as he stroked his luxuriant side-whiskers. 

"They ought to fight well on the soil of their own State," 



216 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



muttered General Warren grimly, as he returned the salute of 
our third-division commander, who immediately disappeared. 

A few minutes after, the Bucktails Regiment came forward 
in close skirmish-line ; and on looking towards the road I saw 
several regiments moving to the front. Rapidly forming in 
line of battle, the Pennsylvanians dashed forward with a loud 
cheer, their general at their head with one of the colors in his 
hand. Battery after battery opened fire on the heroic bat- 



^^^|A -Sr.v -<^f; v ^^S 




: 3$$^ 



BUCKTAILS GOING INTO THE DEVIL S GLEN. 



cheer 



talions, wrapping them in flame and smoke, until a loud 
announced the success of the hazardous movement. 

It was now getting dark, and we fancied the day s work to 
be over. But in this we were mistaken ; for, as Crawford s men 
fell back, the Confederates gathered fresh strength, and made 
another bold and desperate move. 

Above the dip in the ground where the road ran, one of our 
field-batteries had been placed, though it was not visible to the 
enemy. Our line seeming to be weak just there, they made a 



C1IARGE ANJ) COUNTER-CHARGE. 217 

dash upon it in the gathering twilight ; evidently expecting to 
pierce onr line, and so cut off the Round Top. 

The rapid fire of our skirmishers, as they lay in the glen, was 
the first intimation we had of an attack ; but orders came run 
ning down the line at the same moment for our men to reserve 
their fire until they saw something to aim at. 

" That comes from Warren," remarked Captain Burch. " I 
remember how he swore at Big Bethel because our green 
troops banged away before they were within range." 

On came the Confederate column in the uncertain light, and 
we were beginning to see a dark mass moving silently, swiftly, 
towards the narrow road ; when suddenly our battery on the 
knoll opened a tearing broadside of grape and canister. As the 
flashes of the guns lightened up the scene, I saw that the entire 
glen Avas swarming with men. Now was our opportunity ; and 
as the battery sent another shower hurtling through the air, 
our infantry fired a deafening, blinding volley into the surging 
columns. Exposed to so heavy and unexpected a fire, the Con 
federates wavered a moment, and began falling back. Then 
the two brigades of regulars rushed out on the charge. We 
again held possession of the glen. 

This ended the fighting on the left of Meade s line for that 
day; and the darkness soon put a stop to the incessant fusillade 
all along our front, from the Round Top to Gulp s Hill. But 
we knew the battle had come to no definite result : we should 
have it fiercely renewed the next day. 



218 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XIX. 



A MIDNIGHT ADVENTUKE. 

" And thousands had sunk on the ground overpowered, 
The weary to sleep, and the wounded to die." 

IGHTFALL found me asleep under the lee of 
a bowlder, when I was awakened near mid 
night by Colonel Lloyd. He informed me 
that a reconnoissance by a small party had 
been ordered to be made along a sunken road 
by the side of a creek considerably to the left 
of our position. Signs of some mysterious 
movement had been reported by the pickets : 
so I had been selected to command the little 
expedition, consisting of twenty or thirty vol 
unteers, for the purpose of ascertaining the 
scope of the enemy s maneuvers. 
"Pick out your men carefully, Wilmot," said the colonel, 
"and run as little risk as possible." 

" Rather a good joke, colonel. Order a fellow off on a bit 
of dangerous duty, and tell him to run no risks ! " I replied 
with a laugh. 

" I promised General Fletcher I would caution you, Wilmot, 
when he mentioned your name -in connection with this move 
ment. You are to find out all you can, but the general wishes 
no foolhardiness. He is sending a small party, because you can 
all the more easily escape attention." 

" All right, sir," I replied : " I ll do my best to come back 
safely, and report. May I tell Major Harding I am going ? " 




A MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE. 219 

" No, I will do that. You must get off quietly. If that old 
bear, your captain, hears you are chosen instead of him, he will 
rouse the whole regiment with his grumbling." 

" Captain Burch s grumbling means nothing," said I. " He s 
as brave as a lion." 

" Of course he s brave," replied the colonel. " If he wasn t 
he wouldn t be an officer in my regiment very long. But come, 
Wilmot, go pick out your men, and be off with you." 

I had no difficulty in obtaining the necessary number of 
volunteers. After getting my men together, and receiving 
such brief directions as our colonel deemed necessary, I gave 
the word, and started down the hillside, succeeding, after sev 
eral tumbles over loosened rocks, in passing quietly through the 
picket-line, and mustered my little command in the glen. 

Moving round the base of the hill, now thickly covered with 
troops, we entered a road which ran along the bank of a creek. 
Going on towards the Confederate lines until we could hear 
voices, I called a halt. Every thing seeming exceedingly quiet, 
I established a few sentries, and made up my mind for a com 
fortless bivouac while awaiting developments. 

My men, having volunteered for what they expected would 
be exciting duty, were naturally restless over the apparently 
barren result of pur midnight expedition. In this mood they 
began poking about the bank of the creek like so many deer- 
hounds who had lost their scent. Cautioning them not to 
stray away too far, I wrapped myself in my cape, and, leaning 
against a massive rock, speculated on the events the coming 
day would bring with it. Despite these thoughts I had almost 
fallen asleep, through sheer weariness, when Dennis roused me 
with an excited whisper. 

"Leftinant darlint, thim divils, the Ribs, are up to some 
mischief beyant." 

" Where ? What are they doing ? " 

" Down the road, a bit. Shure, Sergeant Foster and mesilf 
saw thim, just now." 



220 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"Come, come, Dennis, no nonsense now. What did you see, 
or did you only imagine something ? " 

" Now, did I ever give ye a false alarrum ? " 

" Not that I remember, Malone. But why don t you speak 
to the point ? " 

" Oh, av coorse ! That s the way wid yez all. An Irishman s 
a fool always." 

Finding that Dennis would take his own time in imparting 
his information, I walked rapidly down the road ; at the same 
time ordering him to get the men together and follow me. 
Half a dozen rods below I found Foster, the sergeant, crouching 
at the edge of the creek, intently peering across. Slipping 
down by his side, I asked Foster what had happened to alarm him. 

"I scarcely know, myself," he replied; "though I m sure 
something queer is up on the other side there." 

I followed Jiis eyes to the opposite bank as he spoke, but 
could discern nothing. At the same time Dennis came up with 
the men, who, taking their cue from me, crouched on the grass 
in silence. 

"But you must have seen \something, Sam: else why send 
Dennis to me?" I remarked in\a low tone. 

" Well, you see, sir, Dennis and I found a cherry-tree 
just above ; and we climbed into it to get some. While we 
were feeling our way among the limbs, I distinctly heard a 
voice give the command to halt, and with it the sound of sev 
eral men dropping the butts of their muskets on the grass. A 
few minutes after, some order was given, which I did not 
understand ; when something heavy was thrown on the ground. 
Dennis and I then slipped out of the tree, and I sent him to 
tell you." 

I made no reply to this whispered explanation, contenting 
myself with listening. A few seconds after, we all heard some 
thing fall into the water with a sudden splash. Bidding my 
men keep quiet, I took Foster with me, and crept cautiously 
down the creek a few paces. 



A MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE. 221 

" See there ! " whispered the sergeant, as he excitedly seized 
my arm. 

" Where ? " 

" Why, there ! " he replied, pointing eagerly to the figure of 
a man dimly seen struggling through the deep water of the 
narrow creek. 

" Hush ! Pass the word for our men, and make no noise," 
said I, watching the fellow in the water. 

As my men joined me, we crawled noiselessly towards the 
spot where the intruder evidently intended landing. When he 
clambered up the bank, Foster and I caught him by the throat, 
thus preventing his giving an alarm. The Confederate, com 
pletely surprised by our assault, surrendered almost without a 
struggle ; the touch of my revolver to his forehead showing him 
the folly of such an effort. Tied to his waist was a strong cord, 
which I divined to be for the purpose of hauling some object 
across. The men gave it a steady pull, soon having in their 
possession a stout pole. 

I was now satisfied that a reconnoitering party was endeav 
oring to cross the creek ; and, as the end of our bit of timber 
had another cord fastened to it, I told my men to pull it also, 
and so landed a second pole. 

In the mean time I had mustered the whole of my party, 
preparatory to receiving whoever might venture across the 
rude bridge. Scarcely were these arrangements perfected, 
when a Confederate officer crawled slowly over. He was 
immediately seized, but made so desperate a resistance I was 
afraid our presence would be discovered by those left be 
hind. 

The affair had now become really exciting, my men being 
crazy with delight at the fun in prospect. We had not long 
to wait ; for, soon after the officer had been disposed of, they 
began creeping, one after the other, over their narrow bridge. 
As each new-comer appeared, he was seized in silence, and hur 
ried to the rear, until we had bagged nearly thirty; Dennis 



222 BULLET AND SHELL. 

keeping tally in excited whispers, as the captured birds were 
taken from the trap they had themselves contrived. 

Our visitors were evidently astounded at the unexpected 
turn of affairs ; for, as each man came over, he was made a 
prisoner before he realized the fact. Indeed, I began laughing 
quietly as the number of our prisoners increased, wondering 
how long it would last. As Dennis tallied twenty-eight, a 
second officer was captured. After him no more came, so I 
concluded that the entire party must have crossed. Sending 
our prisoners to the pickets for safe keeping, I ordered Dennis 
and a couple of the men to go over on the logs ; a low whistle 
from the corporal speedily announcing that all was clear. As 
soon as nearly all my men had followed me across the creek, I 
left Foster and a squad of four or five men in charge of the 
bridge ; while I started to explore the fields with the remainder, 
taking the precaution to drop a few men at intervals to keep 
our trail should a hurried retreat be necessary. 

Cautiously leading the detachment over the soft turf, I made 
my way towards a solitary tree, dimly discernible in the faint 
starlight. Every sound seemed hushed, yet I felt that our 
adventure was nearing a crisis. 

Leaving my party in a hollow, Dennis and I crawled along 
on our hands and knees, with a couple of men, until we stum 
bled on a sentinel, whom we quickly overpowered, and sent to 
the rear. On reaching the tree, I saw that we were on a picket- 
line of the enemy, though why it extended in that direction I 
could not for the moment imagine. The mystery was speedily 
solved, however ; for we soon heard the monotonous rumble of 
artillery, accompanied by the shuffling tramp of infantry, 
sounds which told us that a large force was in active movement 
on the interior line. 

For several minutes the corporal and I lay prostrate under 
the tree, listening to the movements of the enemy. As the 
different orders were hoarsely repeated, I was convinced that 
at least a division was being massed on the plain before me ; 



A MIDNIGHT ADVENTURE. 223 

the natural inference being that some important demonstration 
on our flank was contemplated. Surmising that the Confed 
erates were preparing for an assault upon the Round Top at 
daylight, I decided to return to our lines, and report the facts. 

Directing Dennis to take our men quietly back to the creek, 
I remained for a few seconds to take a final survey of the situa 
tion. 

A hasty glance towards the columns of troops I fancied I 
could see moving in the darkness was all I dared venture on : 
so I reluctantly turned to follow my men. As I did so, one of 
the neighboring sentries approached the tree in the belief that 
I was his comrade. Seeing it was too late for a quiet retreat, 
I hastily picked up the captured man s musket, and assumed 
his vacant place, determined to risk being taken prisoner in 
order that my brave little squad might get away in safety. 

"How still they uns are over thar ! " said my unwelcome 
friend, as he came up, and pointed with his musket towards 
the creek. 

" Yes, they are quiet," I replied in a guarded tone, at the 
same time keeping a close watch on the man I felt would soon 
prove a deadly antagonist. 

" What mought they be a-doing ? " 

" I don t know," I replied. 

Scarcely had the words been uttered, when the sentinel, who 
had now come up quite close, suddenly dropped his head as he 
caught sight of my gold shoulder-strap. 

" Why, who be yeou ? " he cried, making at the same moment 
a sudden, instinctive rush upon me. 

I was ready for him, however ; and, with a desperate sweep of 
the musket I had clubbed in my hands, dealt the unfortunate 
sentry a terrific blow on the side of the head, which felled him 
to the earth like a log. On seeing the man fall, I dropped the 
musket, and, drawing my revolver from my sword-belt, started 
on a run towards the rendezvous of my command. The strug 
gle on the picket-line had, however, attracted the attention of 



224 BULLET AND SHELL. 

the sentinel on the right, who sent a bullet after me as I dis 
appeared in the gloom. The report of his piece at once alarmed 
the entire line, for they immediately opened a spattering but 
harmless fire. 

When I reached the bridge of poles, I found my men form 
ing to resist the attack they expected, my appearance among 
them being hailed with evident satisfaction. Hastily re-assur 
ing them, I lost no time in sending the command scrambling 
over the logs, one or two of the men tumbling into the creek 
in their eager haste. Once over, we destroyed the bridge by 
throwing it into the water ; and I was glad to find that I had 
not lost a man, only one of the party being slightly wounded 
by a random bullet. 

We had no time for congratulations, however ; for the Con 
federates were now swarming along the creek. The rapid 
exchange of musketry brought us reinforcements, and I pro 
ceeded to report my discovery at brigade headquarters. The 
information was deemed of such importance, that the fusillade 
of the pickets was soon drowned by the roar of our battery 
on the hill, as a score of shells were hurled in the direction of 
the massed force of the enemy. 

Dennis was in ecstasies over the novelty of our adventure, 
and always insisted afterwards that it had a decisive influence 
on the battle of Gettysburg. 



A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 225 



CHAPTER XX. 

A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 

" One effort one to break the circling host! 
They form unite charge waver all is lost! " 

EVERE as had been the fighting on the first 
and second days at Gettysburg, it was des 
tined to be surpassed in heroic daring and 
savage courage on the third day. The two 
armies had so often tried each other s mettle, 
they knew that this day would bring the cru 
cial test of strength and valor ; that it would 
no ^ on ly decide the campaign, but also the 
duration of the war. Therefore no bugle 
was needed to wake our men at sunrise, for 
all anticipated a day of desperate struggle 
and awful carnage. 

It was almost daybreak when I and my reconnoitering party 
rejoined the regiment. As we climbed up the hill, which was 
still encumbered by the unburied dead who had fallen the 
previous day, we found the entire army on the alert. Already 
the breakfast-fires were shedding a fitful glow over the wide 
field. Standing, as I was, on the highest ledge of the Round 
Top, I could distinguish the outlines of our entire position, 
even at that early hour, as they were betrayed by the bivouac 
fires of the army. As far as the eye could reach, a belt of flame 
lay upon the fields. Extending along the ground, in a slightly 
curved line, for over three miles, it then turned to the left, dou 
bling round like a fish-hook : the shank rested on the Round 




226 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Top, the stem lay along Cemetery Ridge, the elbow near the 
village of Gettysburg, while the barb touched Gulp s Hill. 

Quietly enjoying my breakfast of biscuit and coffee, I sat and 
watched the mists and shadows disappear as the hot July sun 
rose over the South Mountains on our left. Bit by bit the wide 
landscape lay revealed, and the details of the battle-ground 
were distinctly visible ; enabling me to gain a clear idea of 
the strategic importance of Meade s line. Along the base of the 
ridge, and closely following the irregularities of its contour, I 
could trace the low stone breastworks. Behind this improvised 
rampart lay a broad bank of dark blue : it was the infantry in 
position. Nearest us, almost under our feet, lay Griffin s divis 
ion ; and beyond it I saw the banners of the Third and Second 
Corps, with a part of the Eleventh and Sixth, Sedgwick hav 
ing come up during the night. In front of the main line of 
battle, I could pick out the faint ribbon of the skirmish or 
picket line ; while, behind the infantry, the artillery had taken 
its position on the higher ground in the center. It was a for 
midable array of guns ; for, even at that distance, I could count 
over sixty pieces standing silent and grim in the early sun 
light. The army was indeed stripped and ready for the com 
bat, the deep silence which rested on the battle-field being 
ominous of the coming strife. 

Hour after hour passed, and the day rapidly advanced in all 
its brightness and warmth ; yet not a single musket-shot had 
been heard since sunrise, no sound occurring to betray the 
presence of two great armies in deadly antagonism. But this 
deceitful calm was at length broken ; for, as our colonel ordered 
his officers to examine their men s muskets, a solitary picket- 
shot was fired in the glen, quickly followed by others. There 
seemed no occasion for the firing, it being probably started in a 
spirit of mischief; but once begun, the rattle of musketry ran 
along the whole front of the army, like the snap of a mighty 
whip-lash. Then, being expended, it died away, and silence 
again fell on the field ; only a few dropping shots being heard, 



A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 227 

here and there, among the trees beyond the glen. By and by 
the extreme right woke up, and I could see that the skirmishers 
there had some provocation for their activity. The distance 
was too great for us to hear their fusillade ; a thin pencil of 
white smoke alone betraying the fact, as it slowly drifted in 
the morning breeze over the rocks forming the ridge. 

Thus the two armies rested in the hot sunshine. Noon came, 
yet there was no movement apparent on either side. Fresh 
ammunition and rations had been served out to us : every mus 
ket was ready. It was a period of suspense, as well as rest ; for 
every man in the ranks experienced a curious feeling of expec 
tation. In the midst of it all I fell asleep, only waking when 
Dennis announced dinner as ready. 

" This waiting for something to do is confoundedly tiresome," 
said Captain Burch, as he stretched himself listlessly in the 
shade of the big rock we were sheltered by. "I wish they 
would move somewhere. Any thing would be better than this." 

" You are always impatient, Burch," replied Major Harding. 
" For my part, I am very glad to have a rest. I should think 
that you who have had to foot it from the Rappahannock River 
into Pennsylvania would be quite satisfied to lie still." 

" Oh ! that s all very well in one way," retorted the captain 5 
" but I wouldn t mind betting that nine out of ten of our men 
are of the same way of thinking." 

" W-w-well, I s-s-sup-pose so," stuttered young Whipple, a 
tall, raw-boned lieutenant, who was the butt of the regiment ; 
"b-b-but y-you kn-know we had a d-d-dread-f-ful h-hard t-t-time 
of it y-yes-terday. W-w-what s the use of g-getting ang-ang- 
anx-ious?" 

" Come, come, Whipple, that will do : none of your long 
speeches," said Captain Burch with a laugh. " If we had to 
wait for you to give the orders, we would n-n-never get them." 

" I don t know about that," remarked the major. " It s odd, 
but did any one ever hear Whipple stutter in a fight ? While 
we were clambering up this queer-shaped hill yesterday, he 



228 KULLET AND SHELL. 

encouraged his men, and swore at the enemy, as straight as any 
of us." 

" T-t-that s b-be-because I g-get too excited, and for-forget to 
st-stut-tutter," exclaimed Whipple. 

" Halloa ! I say ! What s that they re up to, over there ? " 
exclaimed Captain Burch, as he took a survey of the field 
through Major Harding s glass. 

" Where ? where ? " cried two or three voices. 

" Why, there ! Over by the edge of those woods, on the 
other side of the field. Don t you see they are putting a bat 
tery in position ? " 

" So they are," said Major Harding, peering through the glass 
Captain Burch had handed him. " It s not one battery, but 
two of them. I can see eight pieces in line already." 

As the major spoke, I shaded my eyes with my hands, and 
distinctly saw that several guns had been unlimbered, almost 
at the edge of the woods we knew must be occupied by the 
enemy s center. There was some important movement on foot : 
that seemed quite certain. These batteries meant mischief. 

" See ! There s more of them ! " cried the major again. " A 
little farther on. And now there s another. By Jove ! Burch, 
you won t have long to wait for something to do." 

" I am devilish glad of it," muttered the captain. 

Other eyes besides our own had noticed the enemy s move 
ment ; for there was a sudden stir among the rank and file, 
while the signal-men on the rocks above our heads began wav 
ing their flags furiously. 

" To your places, gentlemen ! " shouted Colonel Lloyd. 
" EveYy officer to his post." 

Buckling on our swords, we obeyed the order, and hurried to 
our places along the line. 

" They re bringing up a lot of artillery over there, lieutenant, 
aren t they?" said Sergeant Foster to me, as I reached the 
company. " We ll be getting some of their shells pretty soon, 
I expect." 



A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 229 

" No doubt," I replied. " Tell the men to your left to keep 
themselves well covered. You lie down too, Sam : there s no 
use your exposing yourself." 

" Be jabers, there ll be the divil s own row whin thim guns 
begin barkin ," exclaimed Dennis, gazing at the long line of 
Confederate guns which had now been placed in position. 

"Now, none of your nonsense, corporal. Lie down, sir, and 
keep that silly head of yours out of danger." 

"All right, leftinant. But why don t ye do the same? " 

" By and by. Now, men, keep well under cover. This hill 
is a good mark for those fellows." 

The men obeyed the order quietly ; then Captain Burch and 
I crouched behind a rock, and watched the assembling batteries. 
I could see that there were ten or twelve batteries in line by 
this time, with more steadily moving up, until there were at 
length fully one hundred guns in the formidable array. Half 
an hour passed, yet not a shot had been fired : the batteries 
silently waited for orders to begin the combat. Looking down 
our own line, I found that the Federal batteries on the ridge 
were on the qui vive ; for in the gaps I had noticed in the line 
during the morning there were now others moving in, until 
the ledge of irregular rocks was one mass of heavy guns. It 
was now evident that a terrible and tremendous artillery duel 
would soon commence. 

During the half-hour of painful suspense, the pickets on both 
sides were strangely silent. They knew that their puny efforts 
would be thrown away in presence of so much heavier metal, so 
they waited with the main body for the cannonading soon to 
begin. 

Suddenly a puff of smoke appeared on the extreme left of 
the Confederate line of guns, and I heard the shrill scream of a 
shell as it flew over the silent field toward our central position. 
Then another, and another gun was fired ; then the shells came 
in couples ; next by the score. Piece after piece opened fire in 
regular succession, and battery after battery went into action, 



230 BULLET AND SHELL. 

until the whole of the one hundred Confederate cannon were 
pouring a deadly, dreadful storm of bursting iron on our de 
voted center ; while we men of the little Round Top also found 
the shrieking demons flying over our heads or burying them 
selves in the loose rubble below our feet. 

The bombardment of the enemy had been fully and fairly 
opened before our batteries deigned any reply, but when their 
guns did get to work the pieces were rapidly served. The 
fierce and furious combat was now progressing in dead earnest. 
Despite the efforts of the officers, our men, becoming excited as 
the engagement grew hotter and hotter, persisted in rising to 
their feet to watch its progress. As we shared their feelings, 
we gave up the effort to keep them down. 

The roar of the cannonading now became deafening in its 
rapidity and intensity. The enemy s batteries were hidden 
from our view by -a great bank of sulphurous smoke which 
hung over and enveloped them ; the bright flashes of the guns, 
as they belched forth their iron hail, alone indicating the posi 
tion of the pieces engaged. On our side the artillery were, 
however, clearly visible ; for the smoke from the guns lay over 
the lines of infantry, hiding them entirely as they crouched be 
hind their breastworks. We had now fully ninety of our 
heaviest pieces at work, huddled together on the ridge held by 
Hancock s corps. The army was held spell-bound by the mag 
nificent spectacle ; for the opposing batteries made terrible 
music, the hills and mountains reverberating with the awful 
roar of nearly two hundred active cannon. 

For two long hours this terrible double bombardment con 
tinued, and a dense white cloud lay upon the entire field like a 
hot mist. The fierce, maddening shrieks of the shells, as they 
flew noisily through the scorching sunshine, or burst over our 
heads, the groans of wounded men lying all around us, the 
fragments of ragged iron whistling about our ears, scattering 
death everywhere, made up a scene never to be effaced from 
memory. 



A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 231 

The smoke prevented my seeing the effect of the Federal 
fire on the Confederate line of guns ; but on our side caisson 
after caisson exploded, and several guns were either dismantled 
or drawn off the field as they grew too hot to handle. But the 
removal of these did not lessen the fury of our fire, for no 
sooner did a battery go galloping to the rear than its place in 
the awful line was promptly taken by a fresh one. As the 
cannonading proceeded, the shells directed at the Round Top 
increased, and our casualties betrayed the accuracy of the 
practice. Stretchers were constantly passing to the rear in the 
fields below, and lines of dead were accumulating as the men 
carried the bodies of their comrades away from the breast 
works. Our men now needed no caution to shelter themselves, 
for the merciless shells drove them to their breastworks. Poor 
Whipple would never stutter again: he lay dead near me, 
his head shattered by the fragment of a shell. Every now and 
then some poor fellow in the ranks gave a groan of pain, and 
went crawling over the rocks in search of the surgeon, or after 
a convulsive shudder lay passive in death. 

The monotony of this fearful duel between the Confederate 
and Federal batteries became at length oppressive ; and I 
longed for it to cease, even though its ending brought to us the 
more deadly storm of leaden bullets. Then we should at least 
be active, and could give as well as take : now we were power 
less in the presence of the cannon, having to submit to their 
blows in silence. 

At the end of two hours the fire from Lee s guns visibly 
slackened, an example soon followed by our exhausted artiller 
ists. The Confederates had evidently tired of the fierce Titanic 
struggle, and the cloud ^pf smoke on their side of the field 
began slowly to lift as piece after piece grew silent. Still the 
fusillade of shells was by no means to be despised, for the air 
continued to be filled with deadly fragments. In half an hour, 
however, the awful music fell into a monotone, and then it 
gradually dwindled down to a few sulky guns on either side. 



232 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Finally our batteries stopped firing altogether, the enemy after 
a few spiteful discharges also becoming silent. 

The lull that ensued was more appalling than the thunders 
that had preceded it, and it was with a feeling of awe that we 
waited to see the next movement of Lee ; for, the Confederates 
having assumed the initiative, we knew that Meade would re 
main on the defensive. 

The sun soon dispelled the heavy clouds of smoke, and the 
broad expanse of territory occupied by the two armies was 
once more visible. Then I saw that the Confederate batteries 
had suffered as well as our own ; for several pieces were lying 
on the ground, helpless and useless. Major Harding, with his 
glass to his eyes, also announced that the ground occupied by 
their guns was covered with dead. The terrible account had 
been duly balanced. Now that the artillery was hushed, our 
corps pickets began firing rapidly : so we looked for an assault 
upon our elevated position. But this skirmish musketry came 
to nothing, the enemy having no doubt made a feint to draw 
away our attention from the real movement soon to be disclosed. 

" I say, Wilmot," exclaimed Captain Burch, " don t you see 
that man on a white horse ? " and he pointed towards the belt 
of woods occupied by the Confederates. 

" Yes. It must be an officer giving orders. I wonder what 
is coining now." 

" Probably an advance by their whole line," replied the cap 
tain. " What a dreadful task it will be to come across that 
big open field ! " 

I did not reply : so we silently watched the white horse, as 
he carried his rider swiftly along the lines which were evidently 
forming under cover of the trees. Now the animal would dis 
appear in a hollow, only to re-appear and be lost to sight again, 
as the ground rose and fell. On, on, he galloped, without any 
perceptible check to his speed, until at length both horse and 
rider melted from our view in the far distance. 

Just then I became aware of a sudden bustle among the 



A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 



233 



loose pile of rocks near the left of our regimental line. Turn 
ing round to discover the cause, I saw that General Meade 
had come up to survey the field. None of his staff, except 
Warren, were with him. Both officers gazed intently through 
their glasses along the enemy s lines, for some minutes, being at 
the same moment joined by several general officers. 

" A council of war," whispered Captain Burch in my ear. 




A COUNCIL OF WAR ON LITTLE BOUND TOP. 



I nodded silently, and continued to watch the group. On 
the right of General Meade stood Sykes, our corps commander, 
and with him Sedgwick of the Sixth. Behind these two corps 
generals, higher up among the rocks, sat Pleasonton of the 
cavalry, and near him Ayres who now commanded our division. 
The generals conversed quietly together, seeming to be com 
paring notes. Warren was, as usual, nervous in his move 
ments, and intense in his watch upon the enemy. Sedgwick 
stood like a statue, his bearded face giving no sign of his 



234 BULLET AND SHELL. 

thoughts ; while the nattily dressed cavalry commander slapped 
his long boot with a slender riding-whip, apparently as care 
less of the result as he would be on a review. Sykes, like 
Warren, was busy with his glass. In the midst of the distin 
guished group of officers sat the gray-haired commander of the 
army, quiet and steady as of old. His soldierly figure, and 
impassive, intellectual face, betokened a man fully prepared to 
do his whole duty, yet conscious of the tremendous responsi 
bility resting upon his shoulders. Calmly listening to the 
comments and suggestions of his generals, and nodding now 
and then in answer or acquiescence, Meade watched Warren s 
face, as his chief engineer eagerly scanned the woods beyond 
for signs of a movement in the enemy s lines. 

" Here s that white horse again ! " exclaimed Captain Burch. 

Turning my eyes away from the little knot of generals, I saw 
that the captain was right ; for the mysterious horseman was 
returning as rapidly over the ground as he had gone. There 
was something new to see this time, however ; for as the rider 
came galloping back, lines of troops appeared at the edge of 
the woods behind him. As he rode swiftly towards us, these 
lines lengthened, until we could distinguish whole brigades and 
divisions forming in line of battle. For over a mile the white 
horse passed, and the Confederate infantry extended in close 
array over the entire distance. Then the officer and his horse 
disappeared behind a clump of trees, and the enemy s troops 
moved slowly into the field until their entire line became visi 
ble. There it halted, and seemed to be aligning itself on the 
center. As we watched the progress of this portentous move 
ment, with quickening pulses, a second line of battle appeared, 
and, marching out of the woods, halted a few paces behind the 
first. 

" They are going to charge," said Major Harding, glass again 
in hand. " I can see the skirmishers forming now in front of 
the line." 

The major was correct ; for, as he spoke, we all saw a thin 



A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 235 

line of men moving out from the main body. It was quite 
evident that a general advance in force was contemplated by 
the Confederates. This cool preparation for a desperate charge 
was indeed a startling and thrilling spectacle. Thousands 
upon thousands of veteran soldiers were quietly getting ready 
to advance over an open field, half a mile wide, for the purpose 
of attacking an army fully their equal in strength and cour 
age. As I watched those dark-brown lines my blood, already 
hot with the excitement of the hour, coursed madly through 
my veins until I felt my cheek flush with suppressed emotion. 

At length the preparations seemed complete, for a gun was 
fired near the center ; and as its solitary shell flew towards our 
line, the colors in the Confederate ranks began waving, and 
the two compact lines of infantry marched slowly, steadily 
forward. 

"Isn t that magnificent?" cried Captain Burch. 
" Positively grand," replied the major. 

I looked round for a moment at the group of generals, find 
ing a marked change in their attitudes and demeanor. General 
Meade stood in the center ; but he was as motionless as the 
stones under him, his eyes intently fixed upon the advancing 
lines. Not a muscle of his face moved ; yet I saw he felt the 
crisis, for a look of stern determination rested upon his fea 
tures. Warren was leaning forward, the very picture of eager, 
hopeful expectation ; and there was a restlessness about the 
man that accorded well with his thin, nervous face. Sedgwick 
had brought his steel-scabbarded saber round in front of his 
body ; and he stood unconsciously at parade rest as he watched 
the Confederate movement, his heavy jaw and massive beard 
giving his entire figure that air of resolute courage so charac 
teristic of the Sixth Corps leader. Pleasonton, though still 
perched up on his aerial seat, no longer tapped his polished* 
boot ; for he, too, was watching with steady, curious eyes the 
threatening advance. Ayres had disappeared; but behind 
Pleasonton peeped Kilpatrick, his face the most excited of all. 



236 BULLET AND SHELL. 

and he was evidently uttering rapid comments on the scene in 
progress. Suddenly General Warren stepped a pace or two 
forward, and gave some order to a signal-officer, turning at the 
same time to his chief, as if asking consent. General Meade 
nodded affirmatively, and the flags were soon waving in cabal 
istic fashion to their fellows on the right and center. The com 
manding general had now grasped the scope of the intended 
movement, and was preparing his army for the onslaught. 

" I say, leftinant, who the divil is that chap ? " asked Dennis, 
pointing to a man dressed in civilian attire. 

I was as puzzled as the corporal, for the sight of a citizen in 
such a place was a novelty to me. He seemed to take matters 
very coolly ; for he stood leaning against a huge bowlder, and 
gazed through a large field-glass he carried slung over his 
shoulder. Then he turned, and, walking deliberately towards 
the assembled generals, asked some question. General Sedg- 
wick gave the answer, when the stranger took a note-book from 
his pocket, and began writing. I then knew he was a news 
paper correspondent, a fact I explained to Dennis. 

"An do thim writin fellers ever get killed?" 

44 Sometimes," I replied. 

44 What is he doin here, anyway ? " continued the corporal. 

44 They always keep as near the commanding general as pos 
sible," said I ; 44 to get the news, I suppose." 

44 Well, this is a quare world anyhow ! " said Dennis. 44 A 
fellow with a pencil and a bit of paper helpin to foight a 
battle ! " 

The correspondent was evidently at his ease, for he strolled 
about as nonchalantly as if there were no such things as shells 
or bullets. Though his dress was not at all military, still there 
was something about the man that betrayed his connection 
with army and campaign life. A suit of navy-blue cloth, the 
coat cut short for horseback-riding, and closely buttoned across 
the chest, revealed a symmetrical figure, while his feet and legs 
were incased in a pair of boots made of tan leather and reach- 



A WONDERFUL CHAEGE. 237 

ing nearly to the hips. A dark -blue flannel shirt, the collar 
confined by a black-silk necktie tied in sailor fashion, and a 
wide-brimmed felt hat, completed his costume. As I stood 
watching him, he put a hand iiito his pantaloons-pocket ; the 
action revealing the butt of a revolver, which appeared to 
be fastened round his waist by a leather belt. Altogether he 
looked like a man ready and perfectly able to take care of 
himself. 

" Why, there s Charley Osborne," said Major Harding, as the 
stranger approached us. 

" And who may Charley Osborne be, major ? " said I. 

" He used to be an officer ; but now he is a war-correspondent, 
and a devilish clever one too, I believe." 

" How are you, major ? " said the new-comer, as he stepped 
forward. " This is a splendid place to view the ground. No 
wonder Meade came up." 

"I suppose you have been all over the field," remarked 
Major Harding. 

"Pretty much. I had to leave when poor Reynolds was 
bowled over, in order to send a dispatch. But I got back last 
night, and have been in the saddle nearly all day." 

" What are they doing on the right, Osborne ? " asked the 
major. 

"Waiting, just as you are doing here. I tell you what it 
is, major : there s going to be an awful row here pretty soon, 
when that line gets fairly moving," said Osborne as he sharpened 
a pencil. 

u Of course: any one can see that," responded Major Harding. 
" But I think we can beat them back." 

" I hope so. But our line is fearfully weak in the center, and 
Meade knows it. He seems tolerably confident, however." 

" I am glad to hear that," said I : " confidence on the part of 
our general is half the battle." 

" Quite right. By the way, isn t your name Wilmot?" 

" Yes, sir." 



238 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



" Excuse me," said Major Harding. " I ought to have intro 
duced you to one another. Please consider it done." 

" You were pointed out to me just now, Mr. Wilmot, as the 
officer who made that reconnoissance last night : so I came to 
get your story. It will make a capital incident in my descrip 
tion of the battle." 

" Oh ! it s not worth talking about," said I, surprised to find 
myself getting famous. " You can surely find something more 
important and interesting than my adventure to write about." 

"I don t know about that," replied Osborne. "People at 
home want wayside pictures as well as big canvases. Come, 
lieutenant, just tell me how it was ; for we shall all be busy 
very soon." 

At that moment another cannon-shot was fired on the Con 
federate side of the field : and, as we all turned to look, I saw it 
was a new signal ; for the advancing lines of battle now quick 
ened their motion, and came forward even more rapidly than 
before. Both Osborne and myself forgot our conversation in 
watching the coming charge, for at the same instant our artil 
lery opened fire on the Confederate lines of infantry. Once 
begun, the cannonading soon became general along our whole 
line, a deadly storm of shells being poured into the ranks 
marching so gallantly across the open ground. The Confeder 
ate batteries replied; and under cover of their stubborn fire 
their infantry came on, and on, until they won the admiration 
of their opponents. 

As yet no Federal musketry had broken out, our veterans 
knowing too well the value of every bullet in a crisis like this. 
Still the assaulting lines continued to march on, until it seemed, 
from where I was standing, that the leading one touched the 
breastworks along our center. Then, and only then, a vivid 
flash sprang from the earth, followed by a sharp rattle as the 
Federal skirmish-line opened fire. The volley had no appar 
ent effect on the Confederates, who continued to advance 
steadily, sweeping the skirmishers before them like chaff in the 



> i ii .*- ~?wjs 

i . Mfc&r i^ A: 




A WONDERFUL CHARGE. 241 

wind. A minute later, a deafening crash of musketry broke 
upon the ear, and we knew that the main line had opened fire. 
Despite the sunlight, the flame from our men s muskets could 
be distinguished as it played to and fro along Cemetery Ridge. 
Then for the first time the Confederate line seemed to waver ; 
but only for an instant, for it soon rallied, and, as if by one 
common impulse, dashed itself like a mighty wave against the 
wall of steel before it. The Federal artillery on the higher 
ground behind our infantry now tore the enemy s ranks with a 
storm of iron balls until it seemed that none could stand before 
them and live. But the troops under Longstreet had gained 
an impetus which carried them clear up to, and at intervals into, 
our lines. For twenty minutes the terrible hand-to-hand strug 
gle continued ; and I saw, by the sudden movements of Han 
cock s corps, that his line had been pierced and broken. It 
was, however, soon reformed ; and, although the second line of 
the Confederates joined and strengthened the first, our defense 
was too fierce and stubborn to be overcome. Finally the at 
tacking force quivered, and a moment later the entire body was 
in full retreat. 

A tremendous thrilling cheer now rose from the throats of 
our army, only to be drowned by the renewed broadsides of our 
batteries as they savagely played on the shattered and retiring 
divisions. 

" That scene is good to me for a couple of columns at least," 
said Osborne, as we all resumed our places in the line at the 
call of our colonel. " Halloa ! By Jove ! Old Meade is off, so 
I must go too. Good-day, gentlemen : this is the last you will 
see of me on this field. I shall ride all night for a telegraph- 
wire." 

"Do you consider the battle over, then?" asked Major Hard 
ing. 

"Sufficiently so for my purpose. You may have plenty of 
fighting, but I doubt it. Lee can never get his army in shape 
after such a repulse. No : unless I find a different opinion 



242 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



prevailing at headquarters, I shall gallop off to announce a 
victory." 

"Good-by, Osborne," said the major. "When do you expect 
to join us again ? " 

" Oh ! I shall ride to Frederick City, and telegraph my story, 
and overtake you on the other side of South Mountain in time 
to see another brush, should there be one. Take good care of 
yourself, old fellow." As he spoke, Osborne ran down the hill, 
swung himself into his saddle, and disappeared over the road 
we had advanced the previous afternoon. 

By this time the Confederate lines had reached the shelter 
























BELIEVING THE WOUNDED. 

of their own guns, and soon after entered the woods from 
whence they had emerged to make the desperate charge. We 
never saw them on the field of Gettysburg again. The bloody 
plain, over which Longstreet had led his men, was thickly cov 
ered with the dead and dying ; for, even when the defeated 
troops had escaped out of musket-range, the shells from our 
guns mowed them down by scores at every discharge. 

Once more comparative silence rested on the battle-field ; and 
we busied ourselves in succoring our wounded, or removing the 
dead that had fallen on our own lirte. 



FACE TO FACE, 



243 



CHAPTER XXI. 

FACE TO FACE. 

; Thou shalt not see me blush, 
Nor change my countenance for this arrest." 

HARLEY OSBORNE had hardly departed 
when we were surprised to see General 
Meade and his staff return to the Round 
Top, where they remained until sunset, as 
our elevated position afforded a magnificent 
view of the field. Now that Long-street s 
corps had buffeted itself to pieces by its 
heroic charge, the general held quite a levee 
of distinguished officers. Generals from the 
right and center came up, one after the other, 
to report the results of the engagement, or re 
ceive orders for their future movements. Fre 
quently these officers clambered among the rocks that were 
piled up at the apex of the hill. Their bright shoulder-straps 
soon attracted the attention of some Confederate sharpshooters 
ensconced in an out-cropping ridge of rocks on the opposite side 
of the glen. So annoying did the persistent practice of these 
marksmen become, that General Fletcher was requested to send 
a party down into the glen for the purpose of silencing them. 

"Lieutenant Wilmot, the general wishes to see you," said 
the sergeant-major to me as Captain Burch and I were washing 
down a few crackers with some coffee. 

" General Fletcher ? What can he want ? Do you know ? " 
said I. 




244 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Not exactly, sir. But there s some sort of movement on 
foot ; for I heard General Warren say something about the 
glen, and Colonel Lloyd mentioned your name." 

" Another reconnoissance, Frank, by Jove ! " said Captain 
Burch. " You are in luck again, my boy ! Why the devil 
can t they give a captain a chance ? " 

" I wish they would. I think I ve had enough of extra duty. 
However, we must obey orders." And I at once proceeded to 
report to the general, finding him among the assembled corps 
commanders and their brilliant staffs. 

" General, you sent for me, I believe," said I, saluting. 

" Yes, Wilmot : you were down in the glen last night, were 
you not ? " 

" Yes, sir : down in the sunken road by the edge of the 
creek." 

" Precisely. General Meade, this is the young officer who 
captured the party of Confederates so cleverly last night," said 
the brigadier. 

"A very neat affair," replied the general, smiling at me 
through his spectacles. " I congratulate you, sir." 

I bowed, feeling my cheek flush at the old general s praise. 

" You see those sharpshooters in that cluster of rocks across 
the hollow ? " said General Fletcher, pointing towards them. 

" Yes, sir." 

" Well, Wilmot, I want you to volunteer to lead a party 
down there, and either drive them out, or keep their infernal 
rifles quiet. What do you say ? " 

" You might as well order me down there, and be done with 
it," I replied laughingly. " Of course I ll go if you wish it, 
general." 

"Thank you, Wilmot. I was sure you would be willing, 
though it will be ugly work. Now go and pick your men : 
forty will be enough. When you get them together, Colonel 
Lloyd will give you further instructions." 

I touched my cap, and withdrew. Calling Sergeant Foster 



FACE TO FACE. 245 

and Dennis, we soon had our party organized. There was no 
delay in securing sharp, willing fellows ; for our men had been 
cooped up on the hill so long, that any thing promising excite 
ment was a decided relief. Among them was Sergeant Johnson 
from another company, who was accepted at his urgent request. 

On reporting to Colonel Lloyd, I received my instructions. 
We were to go forward in skirmish order, and once in the glen 
I was to act according to circumstances. 

" Do nothing rash, Wilmot," said the colonel. " General 
Fletcher expressly said so. We don t want, to lose you, now 
that you are on the road for promotion. Keep cool, my boy, 
whatever you do." 

" I ll do my best, colonel," I replied, touched by his kindness. 

" Good-by, Frank : good luck to you," said Colonel Lloyd, 
holding out his hand. 

I returned his hearty grasp, and, turning to my men, gave the 
word. We were soon going helter-skelter down the precipi 
tous face of the Round Top ; the men spreading out to the 
right and left like the edge of a fan, as I had directed them to 
do. 

Scarcely had we begun the descent when the sharpshooters 
sent their bullets whistling among us. Two of the men fell 
wounded before we got half-way to the bottom ; and by the 
time our scattered line reached the level ground three more 
were down, one of the poor fellows being killed. I had previ 
ously instructed the party to cover themselves as best they 
could on reaching the glen, only advancing when I waved my 
handkerchief as a signal. Every man was to fire whenever he 
saw something to aim at ; and, as all their pockets had been 
filled with extra cartridges, I knew we could keep up a steady 
and constant fusillade for some time. 

When I reached the foot of the hill, I dropped behind a 
bowlder standing conveniently in my path, and saw that the 
men were following my example. The line being thus estab 
lished, we opened a rapid fire sufficiently accurate to keep 



246 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



the enemy s riflemen tolerably quiet. From bowlder to bowlder 
we darted forward at intervals, thus gradually reducing the 
range ; and, looking up, I had the satisfaction of seeing Gen 
erals Meade and Warren standing undisturbed on the lookout 
station. We had made their position a safe one, at all events, 

An hour passed in this way ; then General Meade retired, and 
a signal was given for me to return. On attempting to obey, 
I found it would cost too many lives, so decided to remain for 
the present. If we must be hit, it was better to fall fighting 




"GOING FOR" THE IIEBEL SHARPSHOOTERS. 

instead of retreating. Shaking my head at Colonel Lloyd s 
mute command, and trying to prove in pantomime the hazards 
of a retreat, I prepared to advance on the sharpshooters. Gen 
eral Warren, who was still standing on the rock, seemed to be 
pleased with my decision ; for he waved his hand encouragingly, 
the simple act setting my men to cheering lustily. Their shouts 
accomplished what the Confederate rifle-bullets had failed to 
do, for the general immediately disappeared from our sight. 

"That s jist loike Gineral Warren," remarked Dennis, who, 
as usual, was near me. " He d make a good Irishman, he s 
so fond of a scrimmage." 



FACE TO FACE. 247 

" Well," I replied, " I m glad he approves my plan, for then 
the colonel can not scold when we get back." 

" We ll not get back so aisy, leftinant darlint. But you re 
in the roight : it s betther to die facin thim divils beyant, than 
to be shot runnin away from thim, loike so many rabbits." 

" Pass the word to the sergeants that we are going forward, 
but that no man must go too far in front of his neighbors," 
said I, hoping to put a stop to the corporal s loquacity. 

" We re a iioice lot of naybors, anyhow," muttered Dennis 
as he repeated the order. 

Little by little we crept forward, with the loss of only one 
man, until the line reached the narrow strip of clear ground in 
the middle of the glen. Here I knew we should be compelled 
to charge : yet I hesitated at giving the order, because I had no 
idea of the real strength of our opponents. The question was, 
however, settled for me in an unexpected manner. Sergeant 
Johnson, who commanded the left, had succeeded in adroitly 
working his way, with half a dozen men, into a clump of bowl 
ders that overlooked the rocky nest in which the Confederate 
riflemen were hidden. Seeing the importance of his position, 
the sergeant sent a well-directed volley among them, which, 
being followed by another from our main line, caused evident 
confusion. 

This was our opportunity, so I waved my handkerchief; and 
we dashed forward, seizing the ledge in good style, as the 
enemy retreated, though we missed taking any prisoners be 
yond three wounded men lying behind the rocks. 

As we won our little victory, I heard our brigade cheering 
us ; and, though we knew our party could not well be relieved 
before morning, the praise of our comrades repaid us for the 
danger passed through. 

Making such disposition of my command as seemed best for 
holding our new position, I made up my mind to pass another 
wakeful night. Of course we could have no fires ; so I munched 
a cracker or two by way of supper, Dennis grumbling discon- 



248 BULLET AND SHELL. 

solately at the meager fare. One of the men offered me some 
hoe-cake he had found in the haversack of a dead Confederate, 
but I declined it with a feeling of horror. Dennis was not so 
squeamish ; and, as I watched him munching the dead man s 
provender, I realized the vicissitudes of war, and how soon 
men become hardened in the presence of danger and death. 

The sun went down, and the night proved a dark one. 
Already the sulphurous gases engendered by the heavy cannon 
ading and musketry during the past three days were gathering 
vapor in the sky ; and I knew, that, as on all great battle-fields, 
we should soon have rain. The feeling that the enemy s power 
was broken for the time made our army careless, for numerous 
fires were blazing all along the main lines. The Little Round 
Top was clearly defined in outline by these ruddy flames, mak 
ing our advanced position appear all the darker by the contrast. 
Thus the day passed into night. 

Midnight came ; and I had just seen the sentinels changed, 
when one on the right fired his musket. I immediately ran 
over to him. 

" Why did you fire, Ferguson ? " I asked. 

" I think there s somebody down there in front, for I heard 
the clink of a musket against a stone just before I let drive," 
was Ferguson s answer, as he finished reloading his musket. 

" Well, don t fire again, unless you really see something, until 
I return. I am going down along the line." 

All of the sentinels were excited by Ferguson s shot, so I 
found them naturally on the alert. Sending one of them for the 
reserve, I went back to the man causing the alarm ; finding him 
kneeling, and on the lookout for developments. Soon after 
Dennis came up with ten or fifteen men. 

" What s the matter, leftinant ? " he whispered : " are we 
attacked?" 

" Not yet," I replied in the same low tone ; " but we may be 
soon, if Ferguson here is right. He thinks he heard some one 
in the hollow below." 



FACE TO FACE. 249 

" Look ! look ! " cried Ferguson eagerly, as he pointed out 
into the darkness: "don t you see somebody now?" 

" No, I don t ; but wait a minute, corporal : scatter the men a 
little, and send Sergeant Johnson word to be ready to resist 
an assault on the left," said I, as quietly and composedly as I 
could, though I now began to fear we were in a bad box. 

I had scarcely uttered these words, when I distinctly saw 
three or four men creeping over the ground a few rods in front. 
Knowing that a bold stroke was best, I changed my tactics, 
and, instead of acting on the defensive, determined to attack. 
Dennis and his men had not yet time to move : so, with a sudden 
impulse, I shouted, 

u Forward, Zouaves ! Charge ! " 

My men followed me willingly, so we went bounding over 
the rocks like so many deer. Our movement was entirely 
successful ; for the Confederates were in a little bunch, only 
half-prepared for the assault they contemplated, so found them 
selves surrounded. Two or three attempted resistance when 
summoned to surrender ; but they were promptly knocked 
down, our prisoners numbering nearly twenty men. 

Sergeant Foster coming up with some of his men, I sent him 
to the rear with our captives, keeping Dennis with me a few 
minutes to see if there were signs of any more. 

" Begorra ! Master Frank," said Dennis, laughing gleefully, 
" if you kape on at this rate, we ll be afther gobblin the whole 
of Gineral Lee s army." 

At that moment, as if he had sprung through the earth, we 
were confronted by a man. 

" Come, you fellows ! " exclaimed the new-comer authorita 
tively, " we must go back. There s not enough of us to seize 
those rocks, now that the Yanks are on the watch. Come, fall 
back, I say, and make no noise." 

" You are my prisoner, sir," said I, clutching his arm, and 
thrusting the muzzle of my revolver into his face. " Surrender, 
sir, as your men have done." 



250 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Damnation ! Trapped ? and by a Yankee." 

" Yis, trapped loike a burrd," replied Dennis, seizing the pris 
oner s other arm. " Ye see, it s a thrap of yer own contrivin , 
so you can t complain." 

" Oh ! I know I m caught, safe enough. You needn t hold 
me like you would a dog. I surrender. It s the fortune of 
war." And, as the Confederate spoke, he unbuckled his sword- 
belt, and handed his weapons to me. As I put out my hand for 
the belt, the prisoner seized my arm in his turn, hoarsely ex 
claiming, 

"Is that you, Frank Wilmot? Good God! Am I your 
prisoner?" 

" Tom Marshall ! " I cried, thoroughly startled and amazed 
at the recognition. 

" Yes, Tom Marshall. Very much at your service, sir," he 
replied sarcastically. " So we meet again, Mr. Wilmot, do we ? 
But under rather different circumstances from when we parted." 

" I wish to God you had fallen into other hands than mine ! " 
I replied, touched to the quick by Tom s sneers. 

" An is this an ould frind of yours, Master Frank?" asked 
Dennis wonderingly. 

" Yes, Dennis ; one of my dearest friends." 

"And now we are sworn enemies, meeting on the battle 
field," interrupted Tom. 

"No, Tom," I replied warmly, "not enemies. We can never 
be that. Remember your last words when we parted, 4 broth 
ers always. 

" Pooh ! we were boys then," retorted Tom. 

" Bein yer frind, av coorse ye r sorry he s a prisoner ? " per 
sisted Dennis. 

" I m sorry the chance fell to me to make him one," said I. 

" Thin, why not let him go agin ? Shure, there s nobody here 
but our three selves. None of the b yes knows we ve another 
prisoner." 

The suggestion was a startling one. Could I do it? And I 



FACE TO FACE. 251 

began weighing my duty against the warm feeling of friendship 
I still entertained for my prisoner. 

" Arrah ! an why don t ye let yer frind go ? " said Dennis, 
in a pitying voice. " Shure, nobody will be the wiser." 

" I will ! " I cried. " Tom, you are no longer a prisoner. Go 
in peace, and God bless you, old fellow ! " 

" Do you really mean it, Frank ? " he asked, evidently be 
wildered by my words. 

"Yes. I release you. Here is your sword again. Kate 
Marshall shall never say I made her brother a prisoner of 
mine." 

" Well, I now believe in the old saying that women rule the 
world," said Tom with a light laugh, as he took back his sword 
and revolver. 

" Dennis, go back to the line. I ll follow you in a moment," 
said I. 

The corporal took the hint, leaving Tom and me alone 
together. As he disappeared, Tom seized my hand, and wrung 
it heartily. 

" This is very good of you, Frank. I know how hard it is 
for you to do this, for I can appreciate your sense of duty to 
your own side of this miserable quarrel. God bless you, my 
dear boy, for letting me go ! I ll never forget it while I live," 
and Tom s voice grew tender as we clasped hands once more. 

" I ll walk a little way towards your lines : I suppose it s 
safe?" 

" Oh, yes ! Our pickets are a good ways off, else you might 
have been my prisoner instead of my captor." 

" How so ? I don t understand." 

" Why, when that fellow of yours fired off his confounded 
musket, I saw we were discovered, so I told my men to lay 
quiet until I got reinforcements ; but I changed my mind, and 
was coming back to withdraw them when you caught me. Do 
you know, I took you and that Irishman for some of my own 
men," and Tom laughed carelessly. 



252 



BULLET AND SHELL, 



" That explains why we captured you so easily. But this is 
a strange thing, Tom, our meeting here to-night." 

" Isn t it ! You know I said we would meet again." 

"And what a change has come over the country since we 
last saw each other, three years ago ! " 

" Ah, yes ! Why, Frank, you would scarcely know the old 
valley now." 

" How so ? " 

" It s a perfect wreck. The fields overrun with weeds, shade- 
trees cut down, houses and barns destroyed by fire or shattered 

by shells : even the negroes 




are gone. My God ! what 
a price we re paying for 
secession ! " 

" You are indeed, Tom," 
I replied. " Of course you 
now see that that very act 
of secession has precipitated 
the evil you so much dread 
ed. The slaves are now 
emancipated." 

" Yes, by Lincoln s 
proclamation ; but that only 
holds good where your 
armies have trod, or are in possession. We have plenty left 
yet." 

" It is only a question of time," said I. " You can not ex 
pect, surely, that the South is going to finally win." 

" To tell you the truth, Frank, I do not. But we must part 
here. Yonder fire is my line." And Tom seized my hand in a 
fervent grasp. 

" Good-by, Tom. Let us hope that when we meet again it 
will be under happier auspices." 

" Oh, this war is gone up ! The Southern cause is dead. 
This battle has already turned the scale against us. I suppose 



GOOD-BY, TOM. 



FACE TO FACE. 253 

we shall be running away from you soon," said Tom bit 
terly. 

"I wish the war ivas over. I am tired of this terrible slaugh 
ter," said I. 

" So am I. But Bob Lee won t give up just yet. Ah ! 
Frank, I m cured of my foolish ideas of State and Southern 
rights and wrongs ! There was no need of our going to war." 

" Is that the feeling in your army ? " 

" To some extent, though it is not expressed in words." 

" Then, why not say so openly ? Peace can be made if your 
leaders speak the word." 

"But the terms, Frank! There s the rub. No, there will be 
a good deal more fighting before there s peace, more s the 
pity." 

" It s sad business," I replied : " would the end were near ! " 

"Would it were, indeed! But I must be going. We part 
now, Frank, dearer friends than ever. Good-by, old fellow ! " 
and as Tom wrung my hand he darted away in the darkness, 
I was again alone. 



254 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXII. 



LOST AMONG THE DEAD. 

" With shivered armor strewn, and on a heap 
Chariot and charioteer lay overturned." 

" S Tom was disappearing in the darkness, I 
stood listening to his retreating footsteps 
until they died away in the distance. Then I 
realized that I had parted once more from an 
honest heart and true friend. What did it 
signify that he wore the Confederate gray, and 
I the Federal blue? we were still brothers at 
heart. Soldiers on opposite sides of a mighty 
struggle, we were still held by the bonds of 
our college friendship. I therefore felt re 
joiced at our meeting, even though it had led 
-"* -^ * ^f me to swerve from the strict line of my duty 
in releasing him. 

When we had parted three years before, it was in the sun 
shine, and our paths lay among the signs of peace and pros 
perity. Now Tom had left my side in the gloom of night, on 
the battle-field, strewn as it was with the stiffened corpses of 
those whose fate it had been to fall. What a contrast ! 

Putting aside these thoughts with an effort, I at length 
turned my steps towards the little picket, whose fortunes were 
for the time bound up in my own. 

I had proceeded only a short distance, when I became aware 
that I was on new ground ; the rocks and bowlders over which 
Tom and I had stumbled being no longer in my path. This 




LOST AMONG THE DEAD. 255 

was a dilemma for which I had little relish, for I was anxious to 
reach my command as soon as possible. I knew it was danger 
ous to shout, for I might draw upon me the fire of my own 
pickets ; and there would be little glory in being shot by Fed 
eral bullets. 

Impatient and angry at my own stupidity in not having kept 
the bearings of my position, I took a careful survey of the 
lights along our main line, hoping by that means to discover 
the rocks. But the fires on the interior lines were smoldering 
as the army slept : so I was the more confused, not knowing 
which way to turn. Walking cautiously towards such lights as 
I could see, I had not gone far when I suddenly tumbled 
headlong into a wide ditch. Rising to my feet again, I was 
startled to find that I had fallen over some corpses. Then the 
dismal fact dawned upon my mind : I had missed my way, and 
was lost, lost among the dead of the battle-field ! 

The sickening odor that rose from the bodies I had unwit 
tingly disturbed by my fall, proved that they had been dead 
some time. The men had, no doubt, fallen early in the day 
when we were hurried from our reserve position to succor the 
Third Corps. Still, this knowledge gave me no clew to my 
whereabouts, for I did not remember having seen any ditch 
during the few minutes my brigade had remained in the glen. 
The absence of any rocks or outcropping ridges was proof that 
I had strayed: so I endeavored to find the way back, by turning 
sharply to the right, hoping soon to find my feet on familiar 
ground. But this movement, instead of bringing me to the 
rocks I had left, carried me farther over the field ; and I began 
wandering recklessly about, neither knowing nor caring whither 
my errant footsteps might lead me. 

It was my first experience of a deserted battle-field in the 
darkness of the night ; and, though not easily cowed, I became 
possessed by a feeling of nameless horror at being thus com 
pelled, as it were, to keep unwilling companionship with the 
dead. Danger might be faced, indeed, would have been wel- 



256 BULLET AND SHELL. 

coined as a relief; but the feeling that I could not escape from 
this labyrinth of death was indeed an awful sensation. 

Once I tumbled, at full length, over two bodies, my horror 
increased at finding my face close to the swollen and bloody 
features of the dead man who lay uppermost. The corpses 
seemed to be everywhere, for at times I could not put my foot 
to the ground without feeling some portion of a man s body 
beneath it. Turn where I would, I found myself surrounded by 
these revolting evidences of man s hatred and strife. My head 
grew dizzy, and a feeling of sickness crept over me, as I 
staggered over the ground, carpeted, as it was, with the slain of 
both armies. Here were confused heaps of dead men, Federal 
and Confederate, lying mingled as they fell fighting one another. 
Feeling my way among them, I found three or four lying close 
together, side by side, at their feet another body, at their heads 
two more. One poor fellow had evidently struggled a moment 
for life after receiving his mortal wound, then, pillowing his 
head on the breast of a dead comrade, lay passive as Death 
swept his dark wings over the plain. Judging from the position 
of some other bodies I stumbled over a few paces beyond, a fear 
ful shower of grape and canister must have torn the ranks of a 
regiment into shreds ; for fifty or sixty men lay here in a row, 
some on their faces, others on their backs, while the attitudes 
of a few betrayed the agony endured before death ended their 
sufferings. Though these bodies could be but dimly seen in 
the darkness, I fancied the glazed eyes of the dead were leering 
at me. Leaving the sleeping battalion, I came across the corpse 
of a little drummer-boy, who lay with his arms still clasped 
around his drum, his head shattered by a shell. Brave boy ! 
he had beaten his last rataplan. Now the scabbard of a sword 
jingled as my uncertain foot struck it, the wearer being in a 
sitting posture, his legs shattered by a round shot. 

Death ! death everywhere, in all its horrid, awful forms ! 
The swift bullet and the cruel shell both had been at work ; 
and I realized what a price is paid for victories. 



LOST AMONG THE DEAD. 257 

Still, I could not find my picket-post, and was wholly igno 
rant of my whereabouts ; for now I came to the scene of another 
desperate, bloody struggle, the bodies rapidly accumulating 
under m"y feet, as they lay in confused masses on the grass. 
Tumbling over one of these ghastly mounds of half-rotten 
flesh, I was startled at finding a human hand thrust into my 
face. For a moment I imagined I had found a living man 
amidst the dead, but on closer scrutiny I saw that the hand 
was a lifeless one. The soldier s death had been so instanta 
neous, that, as he fell with outstretched arm, the muscles became 
rigid, the stiffening fingers remaining poised in death, pointing 
to the heavens whither the spirit had taken its flight. The 
man s musket lay across his chest ; and, putting my hand on the 
weapon, I found it still clutched by the dead owner. 

Half mad, with a feeling of fear tugging at my heart-strings, 
I dashed wildly from the spot, and, stumbling and falling, con 
tinued iny career over the encumbered field. 

Yet I did not escape the presence of the dead ; for, as I sub 
sequently discovered, I was going round and round, like a man 
entangled in the depths of a forest. Owing to the darkness, I 
imagined that I had traveled a mile, though in reality I did 
not leave the vicinity of the glen. Besides the bodies, my feet 
encountered muskets and knapsacks in extraordinary confusion ; 
and once I narrowly escaped a fall over the distended carcass 
of a horse, killed perhaps while his rider was bravely cheering 
on his men, or trying to restore order in a broken line. Next 
my knee struck an exploded caisson, and a moment after I ran 
full tilt against a dismantled cannon. .Round the piece there 
had been an awful combat, for the sod was thickly covered with 
the dead. Utterly exhausted by my unavailing efforts to 
extricate myself from this mass of moldering corpses, I deter 
mined to halt where I was. 

" I ll go no farther," I cried. "If I must lodge with the slain, 
I ll do it here." 

Seating myself on the broken field-piece, I waited impatiently 



258 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



for the dawn that was to drive away these wild fancies and 
restore me to my men. But the darkness still held my senses 
inthralled ; and, as I threw myself on the disabled cannon, I fan 
cied that weird arms were pointing with shriveled fingers at the 
living, shrinking man in their midst. Try as I would, I could 
not shake off the feeling that uncanny shapes were abroad ; and 




LOST ON THE BATTLE-FIELD. 



I fell more and more under the influence of these ghostly fears, 
despite my better reason. The exciting duty I had performed 
since reaching the field of Gettysburg had so affected my nerv 
ous system that these hallucinations seemed dread reality. 
Thus I watched for the daylight. 

Not a shot had been fired since I parted with Tom Marshall. 
Both armies were exhausted by fatigue, and they slumbered in 
silence. Nearly two hundred thousand men were sleeping 
around me, while I was sitting wakeful and alone among the 
dead. 

When I began hoping that the day would soon break, strange 
lights appeared in the distance, disappearing as soon as seen. 



LOST AMONG THE DEAD. 



259 



Supposing them to be carried by ambulance-parties in search of 
wounded, I rose to meet them. But before I had taken many 
steps, I was surprised to see one of these mysterious lights quite 
near me, though there were no footsteps, no voices. The flame 
grew brighter and brighter, and then suddenly expired. Then 
the truth flashed upon my mind : the light was caused by the 
mephitic gases escaping from putrefying corpses. 

" Help help water water ! " 

The words were uttered u little way off, in a moaning voice ; 
and when I heard them I knew some wounded wretch needed 
succor. With a 
feeling of relief 
at the presence 
of some human 
life among the 
dead, I hastened 
towards the 
sounds. 

" Water wa 
ter ! my God ! 

is there no 
help water 
a little \va- 

ter ! " 

The faint and weary cry was now almost at my feet. Drop 
ping on my hands and knees, I crawled cautiously forward. 

" Where are you ? I bring you water," I cried cheerily, my 
nerves now as firm as steel. 

" Here," said the voice more faintly. 

In a moment I was at the man s side, finding him in. the 
midst of a group of the dead. 

" Here you are," said I, unslinging my canteen and holding 
it to his lips. " But don t drink too fast." 

The wounded man clutched the vessel, and soon I heard the 
water gurgling down his throat : when he stopped for breath I 




"A DRINK OF WATER, FOR GOD S SAKE! 



260 BULLET AND SHELL. 

took the canteen from him, fearing that if he drank too much 
it would kill him. 

" Ah, that was heavenly ! Oh, how thirsty I was ! I thought 
you would never come ! " 

" I only heard you call a moment ago, and came as quickly 
as I could. How long have you been lying here ? " 

" I don t know. I was hit when we first began to fall back, 
and could not get up again. Then I fainted, I suppose. When 
I came to again, I found my leg was smashed." 

" That must have been the day before yesterday. Do you 
belong to Sickles s corps ? " 

4< Yes. We got doubled up in the orchard here." 

" But how did you contrive to live so long without food or 
water ? " I asked, marveling at the man s tenacity of life. 

" I had a little water when I went down, and I managed to 
get some more from the canteen of the dead man here beside 
me. I did not care much for food, though I did eat a little 
yesterday. But I was afraid of those shells. I expected every 
minute to be hit. One of them burst a little way off, and blew 
a dead man all to pieces. I thought the same thing would 
happen to me before they stopped. Oh, it was awful to hear 
those shells ! " and I could feel the poor fellow shudder at the 
recollection of his fears during that terrible artillery duel. 

" Well, you will be all right now," I replied encouragingly. 
" When daylight comes, I ll see you safely carried to the rear." 

" Give me another drink. I feel so thirsty and faint ! " 

I gave him back the canteen, and ke took a long, long 
draught. But it was to be his last ; for the strength gained by 
imbibing the water set his pulse beating quicker, and the hem 
orrhage of his wound broke out afresh. 

" Say, friend, I feel very weak. Am I going to die ? Oh, 
say I m not dying ! " and the wretched man s voice quivered 
with agony as he asked the question. 

"I hope not, my man. Keep quiet now. It will soon be 
daylight." 



LOST AMONG THE DEAD. 261 

" All right," he replied, resting his head on a corpse behind 
Mm. 

By this time the first faint streaks of daylight began stealing 
over the field, enabling me to distinguish objects at a little dis 
tance. Still kneeling beside my new-found charge, I watched 
the trees and rocks reveal their outlines. Next the corpses of 
men and horses, the broken cannon, the scattered muskets, all 
the debris of the battle, became visible in their rude deformity 
and confusion. Little by little the light grew stronger, until 
my whereabouts could be ascertained. I then found, that, on 
parting with Tom Marshall, I had unwittingly moved to the 
right of our line, and so wandered in a circle scarcely a thou 
sand yards from my little party. 

Looking across the open plain, I could see the ground thickly 
covered with the dead, the result of the Confederates mad but 
heroic charge. In rifts like new-mown grass in the hayfield, 
lay long lines of slain men ; while here and there were confused 
heaps of corpses, as though Death, the reaper, had already 
begun to reckon up and garner his harvest. Everywhere, on 
either hand, before and behind me, was death, death in all 
its diversity of form. 

Here lay the placid figure of a young man, as though asleep, 
his head resting on the arm that held his musket. Death had 
come to him with a light touch, swiftly, mercifully. Before 
the body had fallen to its mother earth, the spirit had soared 
aloft above the shock and turmoil of battle. Near this young 
and apparently sleeping soldier, the shattered and contorted 
limbs of a gray-haired man betrayed a different fate ; for the 
swollen and blackened face of the corpse bore traces of the 
suffering endured before death had set its irrevocable seal on 
the life struggling for supremacy. 

Averting my eyes from this broad expanse of slaughtered 
men, I turned my attention to the wounded one before me. 
Alas! death had added another victim to the long list to be 
made upon that bloody field ; for he had expired, silently, peace 



262 BULLET AND SHELL. 

fully, while asleep. If I had been too late to save him, I had 
at least the consolation of knowing that I had soothed his last 
hour. 

1 should never know who he was ; and none of those who 
loved him would know that in the silence of the night, with his 
head pillowed on a corpse, his life had ebbed away. 

" And this is the glory of war ! " I exclaimed, rising from my 
knees to join my command. 



MOVING IN PURSUIT. 



263 



CHAPTER XXIII. 



MOVING IN PURSUIT. 

The army, like a lion from his den, 

Marched forth with nerve and sinews bent to slay." 

OON after I had rejoined the regiment with 
my men, Sedgwick s corps advanced across the 
field in heavy columns. But how different 
was the scene ! When the Confederates came, 
they had to face a storm of lead and iron, only 
to be beaten back after frightful loss. Now the 
Sixth Corps marched quietly over the plain, 
heralded by no sound of cannon. Amidst pro 
found silence the three long columns reached 
the trees where Lee had formed his lines for 
the charge. When the Federal army saw the 
corps carry their Roman-cross banners into the 
woods, it knew that the Confederates had abandoned their 
position. 

" Lee has retreated ! See ! Sedgwick crosses the line with 
out firing a shot ! " exclaimed Major Harding, gazing through 
his glass. 

" You are right," said Colonel Lloyd. " General Warren 
said yesterday he believed the enemy had fallen back." 

"Then, why didn t we have a general advance at once?" 
grumbled Captain Burch. 

" That s a question I have just asked myself," said the colo 
nel ; " for I heard Warren urge Meade to send Sedgwick s and 




264 BULLET AND SHELL. 

our corps over right after that terrible charge of theirs. But 
Meade preferred to wait a day : he perhaps feared a trap." 

" Trap ! As if we couldn t charge and fight as well as they," 
exclaimed the pugnacious captain angrily. " We always lose 
the fruits of our victories by indecision and cautiousness. I m 
sick of it," and the choleric captain began swearing in a fright 
ful way. 

" Come, come, Burch," remarked Major Harding in his usual 
good-natured tone. " You always find fault. Remember the 
great responsibility resting on Meade s shoulders. A single 
false step might imperil the whole campaign." 

" It s those people in Washington,- who are to blame," said 
Captain Burch. 

" Never mind, captain : we have good reason to be grateful 
for our victory," said Colonel Lloyd. " This battle is the turn 
ing-point in the war." 

" A good deal to brag about, after losing twenty or thirty 
thousand men : very satisfactory that, I must say." 

" Upon my word, Burch, you are exceedingly difficult to 
please. Battles can not be fought without somebody being 
killed," replied the colonel impatiently. 

" Oh! never mind him, colonel," said Major Harding. "Burch 
is never so happy as when he has a fair chance to grumble : it s 
his way." 

" That s right, go ahead : I m used to being abused." 

As the captain spoke, our sergeant-major approached the 
colonel. 

" Orders from brigade headquarters, sir. We are to be ready 
to move at a moment s notice." 

" Of course. Now that the bird has flown, we are to go on 
an infernal chase until we haven t a leg to stand on," growled 
Captain Burch, evidently delighted at having a fresh oppor 
tunity to vent his spleen. 

" Do be quiet, Burch," said Major Harding sharply. " If yon 
don t like campaigning, why don t you resign ? " 



MOVING IN PURSUIT. 265 

" What I go home before the job s over ? No : 1 11 stick 
it out, and see the end of this confounded war, if it don t put 
an end to me ; " and the captain laughed in a jeering way that 
grated on my ears. 

The sound of our brigade bugle put an end to the conversa 
tion, and we busied ourselves in seeing the men into their 
places. As Captain Burch and I listened to the sergeant s roll- 
call of our company, we found twenty-one men absent, nine of 
them reported as killed. There was no time for sorrow, how 
ever ; for the brigade began moving off the hill immediately 
after. As we descended into the road, I saw that the whole 
army was in motion; our batteries were already leaving the 
crest of Cemetery Ridge, and long lines of infantry were on 
the march. But, instead of following the Sixth Corps, we were 
going towards the rear. 

Away on our right a column of cavalry appeared on the 
road, where we had seen the rider of the white horse previous 
to the Confederate charge ; and, as they came galloping up, I 
knew the pursuit had begun in earnest. An hour later, and 
the field of Gettysburg was deserted ; its unburied dead and 
sinister rows of new graves alone attesting the recent presence 
of the contending armies. 

" Well, Master Frank, that s the end of the biggest scrimmage 
we ve had yit," said Dennis as we turned into the road. 

" Yes, indeed. You and I, Dennis, will remember Gettysburg 
as long as we live," I replied. 

" Begorra, I don t want to forgit it : we had more fun there 
than ivir before. An that frind of yours, he ll not forgit it in 
a hurry, aither. 

" We will not talk of him, Dennis. I saw General Fletcher 
this morning, and told him the whole story." 

" An what did he say 9 " 

" He looked grave at first , but, as I went on, his face 
brightened, and he seized my hand, and called me a right good 
fellow." 



266 BULLET AND SHELL. 

kk The ould brigadier is a tlirump, that s what he is," said 
Dennis enthusiastically. 

* fc He gave me a bit of advice which I shall follow, and I want 
you to do the same." 

" I undherstarid. The divil a word more I ll shpake about 
it," and Dennis dropped away from my side as if to avoid 
further temptation. 

We had marched only a few miles when the threatening rain 
descended, and soon we were all drenched. So pitiable was 
our condition that a halt was called near a range of hills ; and 
as the men put up their shelter-tents, and built fires, I heard 
the dull booming of distant cannonading. I knew by this that 
the advance had struck Lee s rear-guard, so we would be soon 
at his heels. The corps broke camp at daylight the following 
morning, in a pouring rain which continued until noon. Wet 
to the skin, the troops splashed through the mud merrily, and 
crossed South Mountain during the afternoon, leaving the rain 
behind us as we passed over the range. By forced marches we 
finally reached the Upper Potomac, near Falling Waters, three 
days after. 

As the corps joined the army, we were ordered into line of 
battle , and at the same moment I was called for picket-duty. 
We had scarcely reached our post when orders came to advance 
as skirmishers. 

" Troth, and we re in for another scrimmage," said Dennis, 
examining the nipple of his rifle , " though this skarmishin is 
nasty work." 

u You need not have volunteered to come." 

" I volunteered because we have the divil s own luck to 
gether," replied Dennis. " Don t I always have lots of fun 
along wid ye ? 

"There will be precious little fun here," said I, tightening 
my sword-belt, u but plenty of hot work, 

Just then the bugle sounded, and away went the line through 
the woods. Cautiously moving from tree to tree, we had gone 



MOVING IN PURSUIT. 267 

only a few hundred yards, when bullets began singing in the 
air, like the buzz of angry bees. At the same moment the 
men in possession of a road on the right began firing rapidly. 
The musketry ran rippling along the line as the men advanced, 
and the woods rang with the reports of our rifles. Judging 
from the rapidity of our opponents fusillade, they were in 
strong force ; and, though we gained ground, several of our 
men were hit. 

"Captain Hoyt is killed, sir," said a sergeant from one of 
the other regiments, as he ran towards me. 

"Killed? How?" 

" He started from one tree to another near the road, but was 
picked off directly he showed himself." 

" Well, you must go to the left, and tell Captain Judkins he 
is in command now, and say I have taken the right of our line 
until he can come up. Look out you don t get hit yourself. 

As the sergeant disappeared on his errand, I proceeded cau 
tiously towards a brick schoolhouse that stood by the side of 
the road. Just as I reached the last tree nearest the build 
ing, I heard Dennis s voice. 

"For the love of God, don t come any closer, leftenant 
darlint, or you re a dead man. Shure, they ve got the range 
on us." 

Wondering where the corporal could have got to, I looked 
in every direction, but failed to see his face. 

"Where the dickens are you, Dennis? " I shouted. 

"Here, sir: here amongst the children s copy-books," cried 
Dennis, his face peering at me from inside the schoolhouse-door. 

" Come out of that, you skulker," I shouted angrily : " what 
possessed you to go in there ? " 

"We thought it wud be an illigant place to shoot from , but 
thim divils in the abbathy beyant have got the dead wood on 
us, and we durstn t stir a hand or a fut." 

" How many are there of you? " 

"Foive, besides mesilf; an thim Ribs are puttin their bul- 



"268 BULLET AND SHELL. 

lets in the door-frame as though they were drivin nails in a 
man s coffin." 

" Well, stay where you are for the present." 

Darting from tree to tree until I gathered eight or ten men, 
we crept into the abatis that blockaded the road. Here we 
had a clear range of the pits commanding the schoolhouse ; our 
bullets breaking up their fire, and enabling the corporal and 
his comrades to escape. 

" Shure I ve heard it said that too much larnin is a danger 
ous thing, but I never knew how much thruth there was in the 
ould say in until I got caught in that murdherin bit of a 
shkoolhouse," said Dennis, as he and his party joined me among 
the fallen trees in the road. 

" I wonder what the schoolmaster will say when he comes, 
and sees how they have riddled his door and windows," re 
marked one of Dennis s companions. 

" Troth an I dunno. But if the leftinant hadn t come up 
as he did, faix, some of us would have finished our eddication 
by this toime. As fur the door, it s splintered into kindlin - 
wood." 

The Federal musketry had now became general all along the 
skirmish-line of our corps , those belonging to the division on 
our right succeeding in breaking through the pits occupied by 
the Confederates, their men falling back sullenly. As we 
entered the open fields, Captain Judkius came towards me, 
holding his arm as if in pain. 

" I ve got it pretty hot, Wilmot," said he, " and must go to the 
rear, for the wound is a bad one. You are in command now. 
Remember you are the only officer left, so take care of your 
self." 

Nodding in reply, I continued to push my men forward in 
order to straighten the line. The Confederates at the same 
moment broke away on a run ; and off we went with a rush 
after them, my men loudly cheering. Suddenly the bugle 
sounded a halt , and we obeyed the call, though we could not 



MOVING IN PURSUIT. 269 

imagine why it was given. Sitting down on a stump, I waited 
for further developments. 

To my surprise, there was no sign of any strong force of the 
enemy, no batteries on the rising points of ground as one might 
expect. It was very strange. The stubborn fight made by 
their pickets, followed by so hasty a retreat, was so unusual, I 
could not understand it. 

" An where the divil have they all gone to ? " said Dennis ; 
" an why have they stopped us now roight in the middle of the 
hunt?" 

" I m sure I don t know," I replied. " It seems like a general 
skedaddle, over there." 

As I spoke, the corporal s eyes became fixed on some object 
in the distance. 

" An what can that be ? " he asked. 

" It looks like a man," I replied. 

" Why, it s a nagur," shouted Dennis, leaping to his feet. 

The contraband continued to approach until stopped by one 
of the sentinels, who pointed to me. The negro at once came 
forward to where I was sitting. 

" Is yer de gineral ? " he asked with a broad grin on his 
ebony features. 

" What general do you want? 8 " 

" Why, de big gineral, de biggest of dem all. I just thou t 
as tho yous mou t be a gineral." 

"What do you want to see the general for?" 

" I wants fur to tell him de inforbation. I golly ! I se a 
heap of news fur de old man," and the darky laughed glee 
fully. 

"Tell us what ye mane, ye murdherin black sarpint," ex 
claimed Dennis, his eyes blazing with anger. " Out wid it this 
minnit, or I ll send ye to kingdom come in a jiffy." 

" I se no brack sarpint, no mor dan yous be. I se a cullured 
gem man. Dat s what I is," undauntedly replied our sable 
visitor. 



270 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



"Be quiet, Malone," said I. "Come, my fine fellow: you 
must tell me first what your news is, before you can see any 
general." 

" Arrah, let s hang the black divil to the tree below. He s a 
spy," cried Dennis, evidently intending to frighten the poor 
negro. " Say, boys, shall we do it? " 

" Yes, yes. Up with him ! " replied two or three of the men, 
joining in with Dennis s humor. 

" O massa, massa ! T se no spy. Don t you go fur to hang 




DEY S ALL, DONE GONE, SAH!" 



dis yah nigger. Fse Pete, a rigilar Union man. Fse tells yer 
all I knows, an dat s a fac ." 

Seeing that the man was thoroughly frightened, I took ad 
vantage of Dennis s joke. 

" Well, be quick about it, then. What do you know? " 

" Well, yer see, massa ossifer, dey s all done gone dis heah 
four hours." 

" All gone ! Who has gone ? " 

" Why, massa Lee and all the Varginny sodgers. Dey s be s 
clar gone cross de ribber." 



MOVING IN PURSUIT. 271 

" Are you sure of that ? Come, my colored friend, be care 
ful what you say." 

"Fo God, massa, it am de trufe. Dey s bin all gone. I se 
seen dem go cross dis yeah morning wid my own two eyes ; " 
and the negro raised his hand as if taking an oath. 

This was indeed news for General Meade ; and it explained 
the activity of the Confederate pickets and their precipitate 
retreat when we finally entered the open country. Sending the 
contraband to the reserve, in charge of a file of men, the entire 
line of pickets soon received orders to advance. The men 
dashed forward like a pack of schoolboys at play, but we found 
no trace of Lee s army until we reached a road in the hollow. 
Then the story of the retreat was easily read. Knee-deep in 
mud, I saw that one of Lee s columns had pushed through it in 
great haste : infantry, cavalry, and artillery, all left their traces ; 
while two or three wrecked wagons, half-buried in the mire, 
showed how urgent had been the haste. Lee had once more 
out-maneuvered, out-generaled us : we must now seek him on 
the old familiar ground along the line of the Rappahannock 
and the Rapidan. The fox had doubled on the hounds, but we 
would soon catch the scent again. 

While my men were rummaging among the debris of a de 
serted camp in search of trophies, the several corps came ad 
vancing towards us in grand lines. But it seemed a foolish 
show of numbers, now that the foe had so cleverly escaped. 
Along the river-bank a cloud of cavalry was galloping , and as 
they rode forward, and were hidden by a belt of trees, some 
dropping shots told too plainly the fate of the Confederate 
pickets who had so bravely held us in check while their com 
rades crossed the Potomac in safety. 

That night our army began moving for the fords below 
Harper s Ferry, in hopes of being able to head off Lee at the 
gaps in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 



272 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXIV. 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 

" He that stands upon a slippery place, 
Makes nice of no vile bold to stay him up." 

E had reached the Pleasant Valley, in the most 
picturesque part of. Maryland, and were al 
ready in sight of the South-Mountain range. 
The movement of the army was very rapid ; 
for the need of haste was urgent, Lee having 
secured the interior line of operations. The 
constant and fatiguing marches we had en 
dured ever since leaving Gettysburg had so 
inflamed my injured foot, the pain became at 
last unbearable , and I was compelled to ask 
permission to fall out of the line for rest. I 
made my application to General Fletcher, when 
the column halted during the afternoon a few miles after we 
passed Antietam bridge. 

"I m very sorry you are unable to keep up with us, Wilmot," 
said the general, as he countersigned my surgeon s pass. " If I 
had a spare horse, you could serve temporarily on my staff, but 
unluckily we are short of horse-flesh. You can be of great use, 
however, even in the rear. It is very necessary that all the 
stragglers should be hurried forward, for we shall probably 
cross the Potomac in two or three days. So you will please 
use all possible diligence, lieutenant, in overtaking us , and I 
rely on your zeal in bringing up the laggards." 




AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 273 

" I ll do my best to do so, sir," I replied, delighted at having 
a definite duty to perform, though in the rear of my corps. 

"I ve no doubt of it, Wilmot," said the general kindly, "else 
I would not ask you. Of course you will find unruly fellows 
among the stragglers, as well as good, willing ones : so use the 
latter to discipline the others. Good-by : I see the column is 
in motion ahead." 

It was with strange emotions that I saw the brigade march on, 
leaving me sitting by the wayside. I almost felt that my com 
rades had deserted me. 

I had been sitting by the stone wall for nearly an hour, 
watching the fag-ends of the command creep on after the main 
body, when to my astonishment I perceived Dennis Malone 
leisurely walking back over the road. As soon as he caught 
sight of my face, the faithful fellow flourished his fez over his 
head, and ran towards me. 

"Why have you left the regiment, Dennis?" I exclaimed, as 
he coolly sat down by my side and unslung his knapsack. 
"You are not sick or wounded?" 

" The saints be praised, no ! I m as solid and sound as a 
six-pound shot. But, master Frank, you mustn t be angry. 
Though I m not sick, I felt bad enough whin I found you had 
fallen out of the ranks becase of yer fut. So I made bould, an 
tould the docther I d take a pass mesilf, and look afther ye." 
And the simple-hearted corporal turned his beaming eyes to mine. 

"And the doctor excused you?" said I incredulously. 

" To be shure he did. Why not ? Don t iverybody in the 
rigiment know I m yer silf-appinted guardeen ? Ould Physics 
laughed whin I tould him, an sed I d be no good in the ranks 
widout ye . so he handed out the pass. Here it is." 

" Well, Dennis, I am very grateful to you, though I am often 
at a loss to understand why you think so much of me." 

" That s what ye always say," retorted Dennis. " You forgit 
the day ye saved me loife in the shwamp, whin we were foightin 
our way to the James. But I ll niver forgit it, anyhow/ 



274 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Oh ! you canceled that debt at Gettysburg, when you 
thrust your bayonet through that poor fellow s throat, while 
we were fighting over those guns. But never mind, sergeant: 
we will be able to overtake the regiment in a few days." 

"Sargeant? What d ye mane by that? Is it a sargeant I 
am ? " exclaimed Dennis eagerly. 

u Yes : Captain Burch handed your name to the colonel this 
morning. Sergeant Foster is a lieutenant now. All the pro 
motions will be announced to-night as soon as the regiment 
goes into camp." 

" Wirra, wirra ! " whimpered Dennis. " To be read off a sar 
geant before the b yes, an me a sthraggler ! 

"It s all your own fault," I replied, laughing despite my pain 
at the woful face of my new sergeant. "It s your own fault. 
You are always putting your foot in it." 

" Nivir moind, leftinant, so long as it s not the wrong one," 
said Dennis, with a grin on his honest, good-humored face. 
" You and me are together, an that makes it all roight." 

" Thank you, sergeant. To tell you the truth, I am glad 
enough to have you with me, for I can scarcely walk. Until I 
get a good rest, I shall not be able to take the road. Let us 
choose a spot for camping." 

Dennis jumped up, climbed the stone fence behind me, and 
took a survey of the surrounding country with all the gravity 
of a staff-engineer selecting suitable ground for the encamp 
ment of a corps. 

" Now, what is it to be ? " he asked, descending from his 
perch of observation. " Is it to be an open camp, or a close 
one ? " 

" What in the name of common-sense do you mean ? " 

" Is it to be in a house, or undher a tree? Ye hev yer 
choice." 

" Under a tree, by all means, 1 I replied, " and near water 
where I can bathe my foot. It s so long since I slept under a 
roof, I should suffocate." 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 275 

" Wid all the pleasure in loife. I m in favor of an open camp 
mesilf, an thare s an illigant spot down in the hollow beyant." 

So saying, Dennis picked up my blanket and haversack, and 
helped me to rise. With some difficulty and intense pain I 
contrived to reach the wide-spreading tree he had selected, find 
ing it situated near a mill-race. The afternoon was nearly 
spent by the time we had settled ourselves ; and while Dennis 
went on a foraging expedition, I enjoyed a bath in the swiftly 
running water, afterwards falling into a delicious sleep. 

When I awoke, Dennis was by my side, busy over the fire 
preparing supper ; and at his bidding I remained stretched on 
my blanket, grateful for my rest and relief from pain. 

It was the first time I had fallen so far in the rear of the 
army, since we had been abandoned on the Rappahannock 
picket-line ; and the novelty of the situation amused and inter 
ested me. 

Though the evening was fast approaching, I could see that 
the main road was still full of straggling soldiers, many of them 
evidently loitering simply for the freedom of action it gave 
them, though the greater part were suffering from illness and 
exhaustion. Even horses had succumbed to the fatigues of the 
march ; a section of a battery having fallen out, and gone into 
bivouac in the fields on the other side of the road. 

As the sun began to sink behind the distant range of Tatoc- 
tin Mountains, the white tops of a wagon-train could be seen 
in the distance, as it slowly proceeded in the direction the 
corps had gone , and I heard the clatter of a cavalry patrol or 
escort as it trotted over the little wooden bridge that spanned 
the creek. The voice of a plow-boy shouting to his cattle, 
the loud barking of a dog at a neighboring house, and the 
mournful caw of a crow flying overhead, were then the only 
sounds. All else was quiet ; and it was strange to find one s 
self in the midst of peace so soon after the excitement of 
battle, and the stirring sights and sounds , attending an active 
campaign. 



276 BULLET AND SHELL. 

After supper and a quiet smoke of our pipes, Dennis wrapped 
a wet handkerchief round my swollen foot, when we went to 
bed with our weapons safely stowed between us. It was not 
until the afternoon of the second day that I ventured to take 
the road ; having a double purpose in view, to rest my foot, 
and give time for the stragglers to get well on ahead. 

We had proceeded only a few miles when we fell in with a 
party of a dozen who had gone into what seemed a permanent 
camp. I at once ordered them to pack up and accompany me, 
which they did after considerable grumbling. In this way I 
gathered nearly fifty men before sunset, and then halted for the 
night. The next day we were on the march in good season ; 
and I was fortunate in overtaking another officer, my junior in 
rank, besides two or three sergeants. As I now had over one 
hundred men under my command, Lieutenant Beach was a 
great acquisition. 

With his help and that of the sergeants, I managed to keep 
my ill-assorted battalion in decent soldierly shape ; and we were 
near the South Mountains when the hour for camping arrived, 
the number of men being now nearly two hundred. 

The next morning I roused the men for an early start, as I 
hoped to reach the lines of the army before nightfall. A few 
of the stragglers had decamped in the darkness ; their absence 
not being regretted, for they had kept the rest in ill-humor by 
their mutinous spirit. Dennis had found a stray horse some 
where during the night, and improvised a saddle with his 
blanket, and one of the men picked up a broken bridle and 
bit: so I was duly mounted, and presented a tolerably imposing 
appearance at the head of our little column. 

We made a march of five or six miles before the sun was 
warm, hoping to get to the mountain-gap before noon. In this 
we were doomed to disappointment ; for at a cross-roads we 
suddenly encountered a force of fifty or sixty cavalrymen, 
under command of a captain, having in custody some three 
hundred Confederate prisoners. Halting to let them have the 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 277 

road, I was surprised to see their commanding officer draw 
rein. 

" I m glad we have met you, sir," said he courteously. " You 
are to take charge of these prisoners." 

" Nonsense ! " I replied. " These are a lot of stragglers I ve 
picked up. Why should I take your duty off your hands ? " 

"Because such are my orders; which were, to turn these 
men over to the first infantry column I met, and return to my 
brigade, now on a reconnoissance." 

" But this is not an infantry column, I tell you : only a few 
stragglers I am taking into camp." 

" You seem to have got them into pretty good shape," 
remarked the captain. " From the looks of your command 
you can t deny you are infantry, and in column." 

" But it s a difficult job for infantry, as you are pleased to 
call this ragged battalion of mine. We can not ride a man 
down as you can, should he attempt to escape." 

"Pshaw! Haven t you your muskets? If any should at 
tempt to run, shoot them down," replied the captain coolly. 

Finding that there was no help for it, I called my command 
to order, and saw that every musket was properly loaded ; 
then, reluctantly signing a receipt for the prisoners, watched 
the cavalry gleefully gallop away. 

" This is a nice piece of business, Beach," said I, looking at 
the prisoners seated in the road. "It s a bad job, but we must 
do our best." 

" Well, do you know now, I rather like it, Wilmot," replied 
the lieutenant. 

" Begorra ! it s the best thing that could have happened. 
It ll give the b yes something to think of, an kape them out of 
mischief," remarked Dennis. 

" I hope so," said I. " Lieutenant, you will take the head of 
the column, while I ride in the rear. Malone, you stay with 
me. The other sergeants must keep well out on the flanks." 

These directions being obeyed, I gave the order to march. 



278 BULLET AND SHELL. 

On mounting my horse I found that Dennis had obtained a 
spare saddle and bridle from one of the cavalrymen, so I felt 
more at ease on my steed. The captain had advised me to 
take the road to the right, as it led direct to Harper s Ferry, 
distant some twelve miles : therefore I took the new road, and 
proceeded. 

The prisoners seemed quite content, and gave us no trouble. 
Indeed, one informed me that the cavalry had hurried them 
greatly, so our more moderate pace was an agreeable relief. 
1 had announced that all who obeyed would be kindly treated, 
but if any one attempted to run away he would be shot. As 
these orders were expected by the Confederates, they jogged 
along very amicably. We marched at a sharp pace for infantry ; 
because I was determined to reach the Ferry before nightfall, 
and so rid myself of my troublesome charge. 

In an hour or two we reached the outlying spurs of the 
mountains that help to form Pleasant Valley, and by noon 
were in the midst of the range. Halting my command, I 
marched into an open bit of ground in the woods to the left of 
the road, and allowed my prisoners and their guard to rest by 
the side of a mountain brook which went tumbling noisily over 
its rocky bed. The Confederates were huddled together in 
the center, with my men sitting around them, a few files being 
on guard. Though our halting-place was entirely hidden from 
the road, I deemed it prudent, as we were going away from 
the army at every step, to throw out a few pickets among the 
trees on the side of the road. I gave the command of these 
pickets to Dennis, instructing him to keep them concealed. 
Much to the annoyance of both prisoners and escort, I forbade 
the lighting of fires, as the smoke might betray our presence. 
This precaution proved to be a wise one. 

With my revolver on the grass beside me, I sat apart, nib 
bling a biscuit or two, thinking of the many adventures I was 
having, and wondering if this was to be the last one. 

Suddenly Dennis came running in. 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 279 

" Be all the powers I we re in the divil s own scrape now. 
Shure, there s a lot of Rib cavalry coming down the moun 
tain. Begorra ! the boot s on the other leg now ; for we ll all 
be captured, and go to Richmond the wrong way." 

" Don t talk so loud ! " I exclaimed, thoroughly startled at 
Dennis s words. "Are you sure that they are Confederates?" 

" Shure ! Don t ye suppose I know a butthernut coat from a 
blue wan ? " replied Dennis in an indignant tone. 

" Go back and reconnoiter. If they discover us, fire off your 
piece, and take to the trees. We will do the same at your sig 
nal. Cavalry can not pursue us in these woods. Meanwhile I 
must keep these fellows quiet/ 

As Dennis saluted, and darted into the woods again, I called 
to my men, and ordered them to cover the group of prisoners 
with their muskets, and at the same time telling the Confeder 
ates that any outcry on their part would be the signal for a 
volley into their midst. 

It was a dreadful moment. Here I was prepared to slaughter 
unarmed men, purely at the instinct of self-preservation ; for I 
had no desire to be made a prisoner, and marched to the Con 
federate capital. The prisoners failed at first to understand 
our alarm and sudden change of demeanor, but the sight of 
two hundred muskets sternly leveled at their breasts taught 
them we were in danger. Still the love of life was too strong 
for them to make any effort for liberty, so they cowered down 
and remained silent, motionless. Then the sharp clatter of 
horses hoofs sounded in the stony road, and I felt as if my 
heart had stopped beating during those few moments of terrible 
suspense. Our only danger was that my horse might neigh at 
the near presence of the cavalry, and I uncharitably wished the 
animal dead. 

To my delight, the intelligent creature remained quiet, only 
pricking up his ears at the sounds in the road. In a few min 
utes, which seemed hours to me, the column passed on : still 
Dennis s musket remained mute. I began to breathe again, 



280 BULLET AND SHELL. 

when Dennis came back, waving his hat, a sign that the dan 
ger was over. 

" Hurroo ! They re gone, the saints be praised ! They re in 
a hurry, as though the divil was afther em. We re all safe, 
b yes." 

" That was a narrow escape, Wilmot," said Lieutenant Beach. 
" I ve not had so close a squeak of it since I ve been in the 
army. Thank Heaven, they didn t molest us ! for I hated 
the alternative of shooting down these poor devils." 

u We would not have had much time to do it, even if I had 
given the word," I replied. 

As I spoke, we were again startled by the sound of more 
horsemen. Dennis disappeared under the trees, but soon re 
turned shouting out that it was a force of Federal cavalry. 

I ran out to the road, bidding Lieutenant Beach to bring our 
column after me. On reaching the road, I found myself in the 
midst of one of Kilpatrick s regiments. 

u Are you in pursuit of that Confederate cavalry that has 
just passed? " I asked of an officer, as he drew rein in astonish 
ment at my unexpected appearance. 

" Yes. Are they long gone ? " 

" They can not be more than a mile or two ahead." 

" All right. But who are you ? and what is this you have 
with you ? " asked the officer as my command began filing into 
the road. 

" A lot of prisoners bound for Harper s Ferry," said I. " We 
had fortunately halted in the woods, or we might have been 
captured in our turn." 

" Oh, no ! They knew we were too close after them for that, 
I fancy. Though they might have split a few heads open. 
But this won t do for me : I must be off." 

" One moment, sir. Is the road to Harper s Ferry quite clear? 
It s ticklish business, this guarding prisoners on foot." 

"Oh! it s quite safe," was his response: "you can move 
ahead without fear. Good-by, and good luck to you ! " and 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 281 

then, putting spurs to his steed, the speaker dashed off after 
the rear of his column. 

We had not gone far when we heard rapid shots being ex 
changed among the hills ; and, on looking back, I could see that 
our cavalry had overtaken their quarry, and were pushing them 
hard. 

If my men had been willing to do duty before, they were 
now enthusiastic. Their narrow escape from capture had 
shown them the danger of straggling, and the value of disci 
pline and organization. True, we were taking a longer march 
than if we had kept straight on after the army ; but the novelty 
of our situation and the comparative freedom of our move 
ments delighted them. The Confederates were naturally de 
pressed by the fact that they had been so near freedom, but 
they accepted the situation without a murmur. 

We reached Point of Rocks, a few miles below Harper s 
Ferry, by sunset; and, as my command descended the steep road 
to the river-bank, I heard my name uttered by some one in the 
rear. Turning in my saddle, I recognized Osborne, the corre 
spondent. 

"What in the world have you there, lieutenant?" he cried 
on overtaking me. 

" A lot of prisoners taken by our cavalry with a train they 
destroyed over in the valley." 

" Where did you find them ? " 

" I didn t find them," I replied with a laugh : " they found 
me." 

" I never was any hand at guessing riddles," said Osborne 
rather impatiently. " How did you come by the Confeds ? " 

Briefly explaining, I halted the column under the towering 
cliffs of stone which give the place its name, and announced 
my intention of proceeding to the Ferry. 

44 You had better stop here for the night," remarked the corre 
spondent. " It will be quite night before you can reach the 
Ferry, and may lose some of your prisoners in the darkness. I 



282 BULLET AND SHELL. 

would advise you to go down the river instead of up. They 
won t thank you for your prisoners there." 

" Why ? Is the place threatened ? " I asked. 

" Not yet. But there s no telling what Lee may do. A 
part of his army is still at Martinsburg." 

" I am disposed to follow your advice, but where am I to stow 
away these bothersome prisoners ? " 

" Why, right here in the sheds. They re all empty. The 
quartermaster can have no objection." 

u Speaking of quartermasters, reminds me that we have no 
rations. Perhaps, after all, I had best go to the Feny." 

" Nonsense ! I ll introduce you to Marston. He s a crusty 
old chap, and may make a fuss at first ; but he ll come round 
in time." 

" Oh ! if I m to beg for supplies, I prefer going to the Ferry. 
The general in command will, of course, see that I am taken 
care of." 

u You re almost as crotchety as old Marston," said Osborne. 
" Come along and see him." 

" You correspondents take matters very easy, Osborne." 

" Why shouldn t we ? Independence is our motto." 

u So I judge, by your way of doing things," I replied. 
" Where is this paragon of quartermasters to be found ? " 

" There are his quarters," said Osborne, pointing to a house 
near the railroad-sheds. 

Requesting Lieutenant Beach to keep the men together, I 
followed the correspondent. 

"Major Marston," said he, accosting an elderly officer we 
found seated on the veranda, " allow me to introduce Lieuten 
ant Wilmot. He s got a lot of prisoners, and wants rations." 

"Haven t any to spare," replied the quartermaster ungra 
ciously. "How many men are there? " 

" About five hundred in all," I replied. " We have not a 
mouthful to eat." 

" Where are you going ? " 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 283 

" I did intend going to the Ferry, but Mr. Osborne tells me 
they are expecting an attack up there : so I think I ll stay here 
over night, and start down the river in the morning." 

" You had better," replied the quartermaster. " They would 
give you a blessing up at the Ferry, and send you kiting back." 

"Well, major, if you will let me put the prisoners in the 
sheds, and give us a day s rations, I shall be all right." 

" Oh ! I m not going to issue any thing : most of our stores 
were sent away days ago." 

" Come, major, let Mr. Wilmot have the grub for his party. 
I m going to write a dispatch to-morrow, and shall mention the 
arrival of the prisoners: it will look well to say that Major 
Marston supplied them," said Osborne coaxingly. 

" Well, if you intend that, I don t mind doing something," 
replied the quartermaster, evidently mollified by the prospect 
of a little newspaper fame. " Bring up your party, lieuten 
ant." 

" Didn t I tell you we would manage it?" said Osborne, as 
we rode back to my command. "There s nothing these quarter 
masters like more than being mentioned in the newspapers." 

" What earthly use can it be to them?" 

" Oh ! you see, they are always in the rear, and are seldom 
thought of. Why, I know one fellow who keeps a scrap-book ; 
and he is always doing correspondents favors, just for such 
chances." 

A few minutes after, I marched my nondescript battalion to 
the sheds, and had the gratification of seeing both prisoners 
and guards bountifully supplied with food. Declining the 
quartermaster s invitation to supper, Lieutenant Beach and my 
self quartered ourselves in a corner of the shed, and watched 
Dennis prepare our supper. He had managed to buy some 
bacon and eggs, and was in his element. 

"By George!" said Osborne, sniffing at the odor of the 
broiling bacon, " I guess I ll bunk in with you myself, if you 
have no objection." 



284 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" None in the least. You forget what service you have been 
to us," said I. 

" Fudge ! old Marston was bound to help you. I only 
hastened his decision." 

u Well, sit down. What s the news ? " 

44 Meade is pushing rapidly for the gaps in the Blue Ridge. 
His advance is Already past Leesburg, and the main body will 
cross the river to-morrow or the next day. Your corps is at 
Berlin. I suppose you heard of Vicksburg ? " 

" Vicksburg ? no : we ve heard nothing. What has happened ? 
not a defeat?" 

44 Defeat ! I should say not. Why, don t you know that 
Pemberton has surrendered, bag and baggage ? " said Osborne 
wonderingly. 

44 Surrendered! you don t say so!" exclaimed Lieutenant 
Beach. " Of course we haven t heard anything: you forget 
it s nearly a week since we saw the army." 

44 Well, it does seem odd to find anybody who don t know of 
Grant s victory." 

44 When did it occur ? " said I. 

44 On the fourth of July, the same day we beat Longstreet 
back at Gettysburg. I tell you what it is, that fellow Grant s 
going to make his mark before this war is over." 

44 Well, Meade has given Lee the hardest blow he s got yet," 
remarked Lieutenant Beach. 

44 That s so," said Osborne : 44 he won t make any more inva 
sions. Do you know, I begin to see the beginning of the end ? " 

44 I m not so sure of that," I replied. 4 The Confederates 
will fight as long as they have a leg to stand upon." 

44 Of course they will," retorted Osborne ; 44 but hang it, 
man, they can t fight for ever." 

44 No, but they ll not give up until every resource is ex 
hausted." 

44 Sure enough," said the correspondent. "All the more 
glory in whipping them." 



AN ADVENTURE ON THE ROAD. 285 

" Well, Osborne, you won t have much share in it. Why 
did you leave the army ? " 

" My wound was a pretty bad one, I got it at Antietam, 
and they mustered me out : so I went back to the pencil and 
note-book. It s more exciting and pleasant, besides being 
better paid." 

" Supper s ready," cried Dennis, dishing up the bacon and 
eggs. 

The night passed quietly; and, after breakfast the next 
morning, I bade Osborne and the quartermaster good-by, tak 
ing the road for Berlin, a little straggling village on the river- 
bank, arriving there during the afternoon. Marching up to 
our corps headquarters, I made my report to General Sykes, 
who seemed astonished at my arrival. 

" Upon my word, sir, you deserve great credit for your suc 
cess. Bringing up so many stragglers in such shape was a good 
thing, but to escort a lot of prisoners with such a command 
was a greater feat." 

"Thank you, general; but Lieutenant Beach deserves as 
much credit as I do." 

" You both did well. I am proud to have two such officers 
in my command," replied the general warmly. " The provost- 
marshal will relieve you of your prisoners ; then you and your 
men can return to your respective regiments." 

The transfer was soon made, when, after saluting the general, 
I dismissed my battalion, and soon after was among my brothor 
officers, relating my adventures. 



286 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

FENCING FOR AN OPENING. 

" Leading on land his bravely toiling men, 
Sought a possession he could safely hold." 

HE Fifth Corps began crossing the Potomac 
on the following day; and we entered on a 
tedious campaign, which, though conspicuous 
for rapid marches and frequent skirmishes, was 
unmarked by pitched or decisive battles. 

But, though Meade failed to do more than 
occupy Lee s attention in the Virginia Valley, 
events in the West and South-west moved 
rapidly. The battle of Gettysburg and the 
fall of Vicksburg were followed closely by the 
capture of Port Hudson, so the Mississippi 
was practically free its entire length. Then 
came news of the battle of Chickamauga, with 
its terrible losses and partial defeat. The crippled condition 
of the forces under Rosecrans and Thomas took from us the 
Eleventh and Twelfth Corps, while the draft-riots in New York 
further weakened our strength. Lee sent Longstreet and his 
corps to Tennessee, consequently our antagonistic operations 
fell naturally to the second rank in their relative importance. 

Preventing the Confederate army passing through the lower 
gaps, we rested a few weeks along the line of the Rappahan- 
nock, only to fall back on Centerville before a threatening move 
ment by Lee, finally regaining possession of the valley and the 
line of the Rapidan. Meanwhile Burnside s escape by the rais- 




; -- *- / y- > 






. - 




FENCING FOE AN OPENING. 289 

ing of the siege of Knoxville, in Tennessee, was followed by the 
desperate battles at Chattanooga, Lookout Mountain, and Mis 
sionary Ridge. During the winter Meade made an effort to 
get a foot-hold on the southern bank of the Rapidan ; but we 
were checked by the intense cold at Mine Run, so fell back to 
Culpepper to await in winter camp our spring campaign and 
the coming of Grant, the new lieutenant-general. 

The frost and snow had disappeared, the grass in the fields 
-was again green, and the buds on the trees were beginning to 
burst, when signs of preparation for a movement multiplied. 
Besides the drafts of recruits, and the convalescents from the 
hospitals, a large number df new regiments from the Washing 
ton forts made their appearance. General Grant came and 
re-organized the army. By the end of April, 1864, the several 
corps gathered near Culpepper; and a few days after I was 
again on my favorite duty, in command of a picket-post holding 
a ford on the Rapidan River, being now a captain. 

Though the nights were still quite cool, I enjoyed the change 
from hut-life ; for there was a feeling of exhilaration at being 
once more on active duty in the extreme front. We found the 
enemy strongly posted along the opposite side of the river, but 
as yet there had been very little firing to harass the sentinels. 
Standing on the bank by the side of the road that led to the 
ford, late in the afternoon of the second day, I noticed a Con 
federate officer lying on the grass on the other side, coolly 
taking a survey of the river and our line. He apparently 
feared no danger from our muskets, owing to the quasi peace 
that had prevailed so far ; but I expected every moment to hear 
the report of a gun, knowing that my men were easily excited. 

The officer was quite young, and it seemed foolhardy for him 
thus to expose himself. A chance shot by some indiscreet 
sentry would set the whole line of pickets in a blaze ; and, as 
my orders were to remain quiet unless a movement took place, 
I determined to warn the reckless and exposed officer. 

Stepping out from under the trees, I lifted my cap as a friend- 



290 BULLET AND SHELL. 

ly salute, which was promptly answered by the Confederate as 
he hastily leaped to his feet. 

44 You had better keep under cover," I shouted, 44 unless you 
really want to be shot." 

44 Thank you for the warning," he replied. 44 1 thought we 
were not fighting just now." 

44 No, not at present. But you ought not to show yourself 
so openly. Get under cover, sir, or my men will be sure to 
fire." 

44 All right. I ve no desire to be made a target of just 
yet." 

As he uttered the words, the young officer waved his hat 
courteously, and turned on his heel. He had scarcely done so 
when one of the men a few rods below me sent a bullet whis 
tling over his head. Sharply reproving the sentinel for his 
unprovoked attack, I soon quieted the remainder of the line ; 
and the silent river continued to flow between the armies 
undisturbed by any warlike sounds. The incident was, how 
ever, a pleasant one; and T was glad that the Confederate lieu 
tenant had escaped. To kill him under such circumstances 
seemed like murder; and it was pleasant to know that by my 
courtesy I had probably saved several lives, for scarcely had 
the echoes of the sentinel s musket ceased reverberating 
through the woods than I saw that the pickets on the opposite 
bank were on the alert. Another indiscreet shot, and we 
should have had warm work on our hands. 

The evening darkened into night ; and I was quietly making 
the rounds of my line after supper, with Sergeant Malone, as 
usual, at my side, when we were both startled by several shots 
fired rapidly on the right of the post. Anxious to know what 
had happened, I was soon among the men, finding them reload 
ing their pieces. 

44 Hadley, what was this firing for ? " said I to the man nearest 
me. 

" Well, I don t exactly know, captain," he replied : u Tom 



FENCING FOR AN OPENING. 291 

Bowles over there fired at something in the water, so I did the 
same." 

" You had no business to fire just because Bowles did, un 
less you really saw some one to fire at," said I sharply. " We 
shall have the enemy blazing away next, and all for noth- 
ing." 

" I don t think it will be about nothing, sir," said Bowles, 
who as yet remained silent. " I fired at a man, or something 
like one ; and then all the other fellows began banging away 
like a lot of fools." 

Knowing that Bowles was a cool, cautious soldier, I began 
questioning him; at the same time giving directions that there 
must be no more firing unless I ordered it. 

"Are you quite sure it was a man you fired at?" I asked 
Bowles. 

"As sure as one can be in the dark, sir. You see, I was 
standing here, quiet enough, not thinking of any thing in par 
ticular, when all of a sudden I saw something moving in the 
water. It was too big for a muskrat, and I knew it wasn t a 
cow ; so I up with my musket, and let drive at it." 

" Well, what happened then ? " 

"Why, nothing as I could see. The boys began making 
such a racket, I lost sight of the fellow: so I reloaded and 
waited, knowing you would come up." 

" Maybe the divils are thryin to get across the river unbe 
knownst to us," sagely remarked Dennis. 

" Oh, nonsense ! " I replied. " If it had been any one but 
you, Bowles, who began the firing, I should be apt to think 
you had been half asleep." 

"No, captain, I was wide awake. I am suie I saw some 
thing like a man s head, but perhaps it was a log." 

"Very likely. But keep a sharp lookout," said I, turning 
to go towards the left of our line. " If any of you see or hear 
any thing, wait until you are sure what you are about. Then 
fire if you must." 



292 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"An what do ye think it was, captain?" queried Dennis, 
as we retraced our steps. 

" I can not imagine what Bowles could have seen. I hope it 
was not a man ; though it is likely, for the scouts are always 
busy just before a move." 

" Bedad, it s a reckless way of risking yer loife. Shure, it s 
death to be caught. Don t they always hang spoies ? " 

" In most cases. But spies are necessary in war." 

" Whisht ! Begorra, I seen something just thin," whispered 
Dennis, stepping to the edge of the bank and listening. 

"Where?" 

"Right here, just undher yer fut." 

I knelt down, and, creeping to the edge, peered cautiously 
over into the water. I could not discern any thing at first, and 
was beginning to believe Dennis had simply imagined some 
thing, when he clasped my hand, whispering excitedly, 

"That s him!" 

I gazed intently through the darkness, and saw the figure of 
a man sitting on the exposed roots of a tree, his legs dangling 
idly in the stream. The bank was fully twelve feet high just 
there, and the swift current had washed away the soil below 
so that the roots of the tree projected over the river. It was 
evident that the unknown wished to gain an entrance through 
our lines. Was he a deserter, or a spy? We must capture 
him alive if possible. But how? That was a problem we 
must solve by cool action. 

We continued to watch the intruder, who seemed to be tak 
ing his ease very unconcernedly ; and I found it difficult to 
keep the sergeant quiet. 

All at once the man climbed upon the big root he had been 
using as a seat, and began edging his way towards a spot a few 
feet below, where a jutting bit of rock would give him a lift 
up the bank. Silently nudging Dennis, I crept along the bank 
above his head, the sergeant taking a position below the rock. 

It was an exciting moment, for the fellow began making his 



FENCING FOE AN OPENING. 



293 



way up the bank as Dennis and I faced each other. He 
would be soon at the top, and find himself a prisoner. Though 
Dennis was even more excited than I was, he behaved admira 
bly. We were sure of our game. 

The man s head appeared over the edge of the bank, as he 
silently and slowly pulled himself up, until he finally lay pros 
trate between us. 

"Don t move, or you re a dead man," I cried in a hoarse 




ARREST OF THE SPY. 



voice, as I seized him by the wrist, Dennis at the same instant 
flinging himself bodily on top of our prisoner. 

"All right," quietly responded the captive. "I surrender. 
Don t shoot me." 

Surprised at the cool audacity of the man, I permitted him 
to rise, but keeping a close hold of his arm. Dennis called two 
or three of the nearest sentries, who were greatly astonished to 
find that we had a prisoner. The Confederate quietly sub 
mitted to have his hands pinioned behind his back with a 
blanket-strap, and we started for my bivouac fire. 

" This pays us up for the scout we lost on the ould Rappa- 



294 BULLET AND SHELL. 

hannock last summer," said Dennis to me as we were thread* 
ing the narrow path through the woods. 

"Yes," I replied, "if he isn t a deserter." 

"Divil of a desarter is he. Shure, an if he was desartin 1 
he d have tould us so long ago." 

Dennis was right. My prisoner was no deserter. Men like 
him do not desert their cause at the opening of a campaign, 
however hopeless it may be. 

On reaching my reserve, one of the men threw some dry 
sticks on the fire, which, breaking into a blaze, gave me an 
opportunity to survey the Confederate. 

Dressed in a handsome Virginian uniform, and carrying a 
pair of revolvers in his belt, the man s face was shadowed by 
the broad-brimmed hat he wore ; yet there was an air of the 
dare-devil about him that indicated a man of no common cour 
age. 

"Well, sir, what are you going to do with me?" he asked in 
a clear, steady voice. 

"I shall keep you here under guard until morning, and then 
send you to headquarters," was my reply. 

" Very well ; but surely you don t expect me to sleep with 
my hands tied behind my back." 

As the man spoke, Dennis Malone leaned forward, and peered 
inquisitively into the scout s face. 

" Captain darlint I don t ye see who he is ? " exclaimed the 
sergeant excitedly. 

" Who do you mean ? " said I. 

" Why, the prisoner : who else ? " 

"No, I don t: do you?" 

" Shure, an I do ; and so do you, Master Frank. It s Bob 
Haines, the missin sargeant, an nobody else." 

"Sergeant iHaines!" said I incredulously, for I remembered 
the name very well. 

" Halloa, Dennis ! so you are a sergeant now, eh ? I congratu 
late you. Well, captain, as you have recognized me at last, 



FENCING FOE AN OPENING. 295 

suppose you undo this infernal strap ; " and Haines for it 
was indeed he began laughing. 

" How is this, Haines ? Why are you playing Confederate ? " 
I asked. 

" Oh ! I m a scout now, on the Federal side of course, 
and I was trying to slip through the lines when you nabbed 
me. Upon my word, captain, you did it nicely." 

" Untie his hands, Dennis : there s no further need of that 
precaution. You must stay here, though, Haines, until day 
light," said I, giving the fire a kick to make it burn brighter. 

" Of course. I expect to, and you may as well put a guard 
over me," he replied cheerfully. " But I wish you would give 
me something to eat : I m awfully hungry." 

Dennis soon provided the necessary food; and, as Haines ate 
his supper with the zest born of long fasting, I lay before the 
fire conjecturing how he came to be a scout. I remembered that 
he had disappeared from the regiment while we were maneu 
vering at Aldie Gap, a few days after I had rejoined the army 
from our abandoned picket-line. I also recalled the remarkable 
indifference manifested by both General Fletcher and Colonel 
Lloyd at his mysterious absence. I had neither seen nor heard 
of him since, and in fact had almost forgotten him. 

Haines, having satisfied his appetite, produced a corn-cob 
pipe, and joined me in a quiet smoke. The men had all with 
drawn from our fire to their own, only Dennis being near 
us. 

" Well, Haines, this is a singular meeting," said I at length. 

" Isn t it ? " replied the sergeant scout. " I didn t know my 
old corps had moved up from the railroad line. When did 
you come up to the river ? " 

" Only three days ago. The whole army is concentrating 
for a move," was my answer. 

" So ! I m glad I ve got here in time." 

" Shure, an it must hev bin ticklish work to get through the 
Ribs lines," said Dennis. 



296 BULLET AND SHELL. 

kb Yes, indeed ! though I managed it easy enough after all," 
replied the scout. 

" How did you do it ? " I asked. 

" Well, you see, I walked down to the river this afternoon, 
and began asking questions of the Reb pickets, at the same 
time keeping my eyes open. I soon discovered that there was 
a gap in their line, owing >to a small creek that enters the 
Rapidan half a mile above ; and by making a circuit through the 
woods, I struck the river at the mouth of the creek. The cur 
rent was pretty swift, so I just launched out and swam silently 
down stream." 

" Some of our men fired at you," I remarked. "It s a won 
der you were not hit." 

" Not at all. Only one of the men saw me ; and, when I 
heard him cock his rifle, I just dove under the bank, and was 
soon under cover." 

" You ran a regular gauntlet, in fact ? " 

" Just so. The only danger was, that the fellows on the 
other side might see me and fire also." 

" You were confoundedly self-possessed, Haines, when we 
laid hands on you," said I. 

"Why not?" replied the scout with a low laugh. "I could 
scarcely expect to get through our lines unnoticed. All I was 
afraid of was, that you might use your revolver, shoot first 
and ask questions afterwards, you know. It was only neces 
sary to surrender quietly to be safe." 

" Suppose we had not recognized you : what would you have 
done?" 

"Simply played my part as a Confederate, and asked to be 
sent to headquarters under guard. Once with the general, I 
was all right." And Haines re-filled his pipe. 

" Upon my word, Haines, you are a cool hand ! " said I 
admiringly. 

" One needs to be cool in my business. A scout has to 
have his wits about him." 



FENCING FOR AN OPENING. 297 

" How came you to turn scout ? " I asked, my curiosity now 
fully aroused. 

" It was a very simple matter, and all an accident. I don t 
mind telling you and Dennis the story, if you care to hear it." 

" Be jabers, we re just dyin to hear it ! " exclaimed the 
sergeant. 

" Well, here goes. But it s a pretty long yarn." 

And Haines at once proceeded to tell his story, which must 
serve as another chapter. 



298 



BULLET AND SHELL. 




CHAPTER XXVI. 

THE SCOUT S STORY. 

" Away, then, work with boldness and with speed, 
On greatest actions greatest dangers feed." 

IRST you must remember how the old Fifth 
Corps started for Gettysburg, and our brigade 
went through Aldie Gap into the Loudon Val- 
) ley to support Pleasonton s cavalry during 
their skirmish with Stuart s troopers. I need 
not remind you of the dance they led us. 
What I have to tell happened after that. 

The brigade had gone into bivouac on the 
slope of the hills ; and as the sun began to sink 
behind the western range of the Blue Ridge, 
on the other side of the valley, I congratulated 
myself on the prospect of a quiet night s rest, 
after the hard day s service we had passed through. I was 
busily engaged in preparing supper, when all my expectations 
disappeared by a summons for picket-duty. Excessively an 
noyed, I slung my knapsack and rifle over my shoulder, and in 
a few minutes after was moving with the detail into the valley 
toward the outposts. 

When I bade my comrades the usual careless farewell of a 
soldier, I little anticipated the adventure in store for me ; and 
as my old friend and tent-mate, Tom Burroughs, looked up 
from his hardtack and coffee, grumbling in no amiable mood 
at my departure, neither he nor I imagined that it was our last 
sight of each other on earth. Two years of constant service, 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 299 

and plenty of hard knocks successfully encountered together, 
had given Tom and me confidence in the future ; and we had 
already exchanged many a thought on the day our regiment 
would return home. Tom, however, was never to see home 
again, poor fellow ! for he met a soldier s death in the charge 
you fellows made so gallantly at Gettysburg, before the Little 
Round Top. 

The picket billets had all been told off as the sun went down 
in a blaze of color ; and I was placed in command of a small 
picket-post towards the left of our line, my position lying di 
rectly across an old by-road which skirted the mountain range 
at our back, and led to the village beyond. The evening was 
clear and warm ; and as I passed along my chain of sentinels, 
and gave the countersign, I found the scene a very lovely and 
refreshing one, making me lose my regret at leaving camp. 
The birds were flitting in the trees above my head, seeking 
their nests ; while the soft and busy hum of the summer insects 
made the stillness more marked by the contrast. The mas 
sive outlines of the mountains were fast becoming lost in the 
shades of night ; and I almost forgot that I trod the soil of 
Virginia, so like did the scene appear to that of my own 
Northern home. 

Cautioning my men to keep a sharp lookout for any move 
ment on the part of the enemy, and, above all, not permit any 
lurking guerilla to assail them, I retraced my steps to the ren 
dezvous of my guard, finding their fire deftly hidden by a huge 
bowlder. 

The evening deepened into night, and the second relief of 
sentries had been duly posted, when I suddenly heard the one 
stationed in the road give a hurried challenge. No response 
was made to his summons, however ; and I was settling myself 
in my snug corner once more when the same sentry uttered 
another and more excited call of " Who comes there ? " 

Fearing that he might use his rifle without due provocation, 
and so needlessly alarm the entire line, I stepped down to his 



300 BULLET AND SHELL. 

post to reconnoiter ; finding Weaver, the sentinel, standing in 
the middle of the wagon-track, on the alert, and peering in 
tently into the shrubber}^ which skirted either side of the road. 

Uttering a low word or two to apprise him of my coming, I 
approached, and asked what had alarmed him. 

" I don t know exactly, sergeant," said he ; " but I ll swear 
that I saw a man run across the road just now, down by that 
pine-tree." 

" You challenged twice, Joe," I remarked. " What did you 
see the first time ? " 

" Nothing ; but I heard a twig crack a moment before, and I 
thought I saw the tree move a little." 

I glanced down the road as he spoke, but could discern noth 
ing, despite the moonlight; and, supposing it was a squirrel 
that had caused the alarm, I uttered my thoughts aloud. 

44 1 tell you, sergeant, it was a man, if any thing," exclaimed 
Weaver doggedly: "I guess I know a man from a squirrel 
when I see one." 

" Very likely," I replied soothingly. " Just you stand here 
on the lookout while I go down the road a bit." 

Gently drawing back the hammer of my rifle, ready for use, 
I crept cautiously down the road until I reached the tree, but, 
as I expected, discovered nothing. With a quiet laugh at Joe 
and his fears, I cautioned him against any more needless 
alarms, and passed through the line again. I had proceeded 
scarcely a dozen paces, however, when I distinctly saw the 
crouching form of a man hurry across the road a few rods 
below. 

The thought flashed upon me in an instant, that this must 
be Joe s friend, and up to no good, that was evident. Ashamed 
of my sneer at the sentinel s watchfulness, I ran towards the 
spot where the intruder had disappeared in the bushes. But I 
was too late, for no trace whatever could I find of the skulker. 
Indeed, I began to doubt my own sense of sight, so strange did 
the whole affair appear. Determined, however, to sift the mat- 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 301 

ter thoroughly, T searched in every direction, yet could find 
nothing that would give me a clew to the mystery. 

Chagrined at my failure, but fully satisfied that some mis 
chief was afoot, I returned to Weaver, and told him what had 
happened. 

Joe at first seemed only relieved to learn that he had not 
been mistaken in his challenge, but soon joined in my annoy 
ance at our having been so cleverly outwitted. We fully 
agreed that the fellow was a spy, and that he had managed to 
slip past Joe while the latter was watching my movements 
down the road in front. 

As Weaver had seen no more men, I left him with a caution 
to be silent regarding the occurrence, and at once made a tour 
of my line ; finding all of the men very quiet and unconcerned, 
none of them dreaming that our chain of sentries had actually 
been penetrated in so bold a manner. In due time, and in no 
amiable mood, I reported the facts to the commissioned officer 
in command of the brigade pickets ; and he immediately notified 
headquarters, at the same time sending me back to my guard 
with a sharp reprimand for what he was pleased to term my 
negligence. 

The remainder of the night was passing off very quietly, and 
I was nodding over the fire after midnight, when an order 
came for me to report forthwith at our brigade headquarters, 
another sergeant relieving me of my command. Fully expect 
ing a sound lecture from General Fletcher, I stumbled off in 
the dark to report as ordered. Upon my arrival I was at once 
ushered into the general s tent ; where, instead of our brigadier, 
I found myself confronted by a tall and dashing fellow, fully 
equipped in a Confederate lieutenant s uniform. 

"Are you the sergeant who so nearly captured me to-night 
on the picket-line ? " said the stranger in a pleasant voice. 

"I suppose I am," I replied, "if you are the man who crossed 
my line of sentries by the old dirt-road. But how under the 
sun did you come here ? " 



302 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Oh ! that was easy enough, after I succeeded in eluding 
you. As for my being here, I need only say I am a Federal 
scout." 

At this moment General Fletcher entered the tent in a hur 
ried manner, and said, 

" Sergeant Haines, I am very glad that } r ou did not create 
any alarm over the entrance of our friend, the scout here, into 
our lines ; for it so happens he does not wish his presence 
known, as we are on the eve of a general movement. My 
object in sending for you is to make an arrangement by which 
he may proceed to General Hooker s headquarters. You and 
he must change clothes." 

" General ! " I exclaimed, quite taken aback by the novel 
proposition. 

" You must, I tell 3-011 ; and not only must you take his uni 
form, but his character also, and contrive to slip through our 
lines to-night on a special scout." 

" But, general, you forget that I am not prepared, nor fitted 
by experience, for such hazardous duty. I must really decline 
the latter part of your programme." 

" Of course I know very well I can not compel you to go, 
sergeant," replied General Fletcher; "but I m sure you won t 
refuse when I explain the matter a little." 

" Tell him the whole story, general," said the unknown : " I 
can see that he ll go, after all." 

"The fact is, Haines," pursued the brigadier, "our friend 
here, who is known inside the Confederate lines as Lieutenant 
Fred Watson, is in possession of very important information 
which must be transmitted to General Hooker at once. He 
managed to come this way from General Lee s headquarters, 
while carrying orders to General Ewell, who commands the 
enemy s advance ; and it is imperative that these orders be 
delivered in due time, else Watson s future plans for usefulness 
are entirely upset." 

" But," said I, " why can t his information be sent to General 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 303 

Hooker by some one else, and he take the orders to General 
Ewell himself? I will undertake to get him through the picket- 
line again without any trouble." 

" No, no ! " exclaimed Watson : " that won t do at all, for I 
have to sketch routes on a map at headquarters. You don t 
suppose I m fool enough to carry plans and marked maps on 
my person, do you ? " 

"Come now, sergeant, volunteer like a nran, and make no 
more bother," said the brigadier, rather testily at my stubborn 
ness. 

" Well, I suppose I must do as you say, sir, now that I 
understand the case so clearly," I reluctantly replied. " But 
I don t see how I am to overtake General Ewell without a 
mount." 

" Oh ! that s easily managed," said the scout eagerly, " if you 
only make haste and get through the lines before daybreak. 
Go a hundred yards or so down the road beyond your picket- 
line, where the sentinel challenged me, and you will find my 
horse there all ready for you." 

Making no further objection, I at once began to strip ; and 
soon found myself metamorphosed into a Confederate officer 
of the most approved type, the scout s uniform fortunately 
proving a decided fit. Watson then handed me his Confeder 
ate passes, a pair of revolvers in excellent order, and a small 
packet of soft tissue-paper wrapped in a sheet of tinfoil such as 
they put tobacco in. This packet contained the orders and 
secret instructions for General Ewell from General Lee, the 
text of which formed a part of Watson s information. 

While the scout and I were exchanging uniforms, he in 
formed me that I would have no difficulty in personating him, 
as he was not known except at the general headquarters of the 
Confederate army ; and he took occasion to give me a few 
hurried hints as to my conduct while inside the enemy s lines. 
Watson confessed, however, that circumstances and the exer 
cise of my own wits would be the best guide ; so he only in- 



304 BULLET AND SHELL. 

sisted that I should, after delivering the packet to General 
Ewell, leave him as soon as possible, and return to our own 
army, in order that he himself might go again on scout duty. 

Bidding the general and the scout a hasty farewell, I slipped 
out of the tent, and plunged into the bush near by. I had 
looked at my watch while stowing away a big roll of Confed 
erate scrip given me by Watson, and noticed that it was after 
the hour for my second relief to go on post again. I would 
therefore find Weaver on duty ; and, as I made my way toward 
the road, I determined to take him into my confidence, and so 
pass through the picket-line. 

Cautiously creeping past my reserve guard, who were fortu 
nately nearly all asleep, I managed to gain Weaver s post with 
out much difficulty. Joe was standing in the road, quietly 
leaning on his musket, no doubt thinking of the spy and my 
supposed disgrace. A word from me placed him on the alert ; 
and, taking care not to be seen by the neighboring sentinels, I 
hurriedly told Joe my errand and orders. 

Satisfying himself of my identity, Weaver permitted me to 
pass, with a low whistle of surprise, faithfully promising to 
keep my secret ; being much amused, as I afterward learned, at 
the idle rumors in circulation the next day, explanatory of my 
disappearance. 

Bidding Joe good-night, I walked rapidly down the road 
beyond the pine-tree, and was gratified to find Watson s horse 
all right, just as he had left it ; so sprang nimbly into the sad 
dle, and cantered off. I had already made up my mind as to 
my route, and intended making a wide detour until I could 
with safety strike into the main road for Snicker s Gap. 

It was then almost daylight, and I had made good progress 
across the valley before the sun began to redden the horizon. 
As my horse cantered gayly forward, my spirits rose with the 
novelty of the occasion ; and I enjoyed the sudden change in 
my fortunes all the more because it came unexpected. I knew 
that my disguise was perfect; and I felt quite proud of my 



THE SCOUT S STOKY. 



305 



new sleeve-embroidered jacket, decorated as it was with a set 
of handsome Virginia State buttons, worth a mint of money in 
Confederate currency : I naturally had, therefore, no great fears 
as to my ultimate success. Having ridden across the valley 
without hindrance, I was congratulating myself on an easy 
entrance into the lines of the enemy, when my ear caught the 
sound of horses hoofs. Failing to discover any one either 
ahead or behind me on the road, and noticing a cross-road a 
few rods farther on, I urged my horse forward to reconnoiter. 

Scarcely had I reached this cross-road, than a wild halloo on 
my right showed me I had encountered a Federal cavalry 
patrol. As it 
was no part of 
my plan to be 
captured by 
our own side, 
I made a 
choice of ne 
cessity, and 
dashed madly 
up the road 
towards the 
mountains in 
order to es 
cape. When 
the patrol 
came thunder 
ing along after me in hopes of securing a prisoner, I found my 
mare equal to the emergency ; for she rapidly gained ground 
in the race. This fact only added to my danger, however : for 
every few seconds a bullet came whistling past my ear, my pur 
suers making a regular target of me ; though their fusillade 
fortunately proved ineffectual, owing to the necessary uneven- 
ness of their aim. 

Expecting each moment to be hit, I galloped doggedly on, 




THE CHASE. 



306 BULLET AND SHELL. 

hoping that I might be lucky enough to reach some Confeder 
ate outpost before either myself or my horse was wounded. 
The scouting-party at my heels evidently divined my intention, 
ere we had galloped half a mile ; for I could see they were 
already repenting of their rashness. It only needed, therefore, 
the appearance of a few Confederate cavalrymen at a sudden 
turn in the road, to rid me of my troublesome pursuers. The 
chase, however, proved of decided service ; for as I checked my 
mare, and halted near the vidette, I was not suspected, the cor 
poral in command merely saying, 

" Well, lieutenant, you had a narrow escape from going 
North the wrong way, hadn t you ? " 

"Yes, sir: it was indeed a close shave," I replied, " though I 
don t think I should ever have seen a Northern prison if they 
had caught me." 

" Why not ? " exclaimed two or three voices. 

" Well, you see, gentlemen, I ve ridden hard all night from 
General Lee s headquarters ; and I have papers on my person 
that might make the Yanks believe I was something like a 
scout." 

"Oh! that s it, is it?" said the corporal. "Well, I m glad 
we happened so close when you rode up. I suppose you want 
to go to the rear." 

" By all means ; and I would thank you to send an escort 
with me to the nearest general officer, for my business is press 
ing." 

" All right, sir : we won t keep you. Here, Graves, you go 
with the lieutenant," added the corporal, nodding to the nearest 
trooper. 

With a brief salute to the corporal, I followed my guide up 
the rapidly rising road ; for we were then entering the gorge of 
the mountains leading into the Gap. 

Like most soldiers, Graves proved talkative, a trait I 
encouraged, for I wished to post myself a little before I was 
brought in contact with the general, whoever he might be. 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 307 

"How came you outside our lines, sir?" asked Graves as he 
hitched his saber-belt into an easier position. 

" I took the shortest cut through the London, not knowing 
the Yanks had got into it. I only discovered the fact by the 
dead horses lying in the roads below." 

" You were mighty lucky to run across us as you did," said 
Graves. "It s a wonder you didn t fall in with any more 
Yanks : the valley is full of them." 

" How came you fellows to fall back after whipping the 
Yanks, as you evidently did ? " I inquired, affecting ignorance 
of the true state of affairs. 

"We fell back to encourage them to come down again to 
day," replied Graves, evidently gratified at my words. " We 
thrashed them pretty bad yesterday, that s a fact ; though their 
cursed infantry bothered us a good deal." 

Much amused at the fellow s conceit, I continued the conver 
sation ; ascertaining that General Fitz Hugh Lee s brigade of 
cavalry held the Gap, and that I was being taken to his head 
quarters. Graves also informed me that General Ewell had 
already crossed the Potomac ; and Longstreet s corps had passed 
through Winchester the day before, and would probably cross 
the river before morning of the following day. General Hill 
had relieved General Longstreet, and was now supporting the 
operations of the Confederate cavalry under Stuart in holding 
the Gaps. The Confederates evidently anticipated a sharp en 
gagement that da} r , a scout having reported an entire Federal 
corps in motion through Aldie Gap, a pure fiction on his part, 
as I had good reason to know. 

After proceeding a mile up the Gap, my guide suddenly aban 
doned the road, and escorted me to a clump of trees on the 
right, where I found the Confederate brigadier at breakfast, 
a fact that told me he anticipated an early move. 

"What s this?" queried the general as he turned sharply 
round at the sound of our approach. 

"I am the bearer of dispatches from General Lee to Lieu- 



308 



EULLET AND SHELL. 



tenant-General Ewell, sir," said I, dismounting, and showing 

him my pass. " I am desirous of proceeding as far as Win 
chester immediately." 

The brigadier glanced at the pass, and, finding it genuine, 

replied, " Very well, sir, you can go ; though I don t see how 

you are to reach General Ewell on that beast." 

" I have an order for a fresh horse for use at Winchester, sir, 

unless I can get one nearer at hand," said I with the air of a 

man accus 
tomed to such 
favors. 

"I would 
give you a 
mount, lieu 
tenant, with 
pleasure," 
said the gen 
eral, noticing 
my hint; 
"but you are 
better off now 
than two- 
thirds of my 
men. You 
will have to 

wait for another horse until you reach Winchester." 

" Much obliged to you, sir, all the same. I will do my best. 

I have the honor to bid you good-day, general." 

" Perhaps you would like some breakfast before proceeding," 

said one of the staff-officers courteously. 

" I am much obliged to you," I replied ; " but I must decline 

any thing more than a cup of coffee, if you have such a luxury 

at hand." 

"Fortunately we can do that much for you. But how came 

you to ride through the London Valley ? You ran great risk 




BEFORE THE CONFEDERATE GENERAL. 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 309 

of capture," he continued as a contraband produced some cof 
fee and a plate of corn-cakes. 

" You may well say that, for I was hotly pursued under the 
foot-hills just now. My reason for striking through the Lou- 
don was, that I intended crossing the Potomac below Harper s 
Ferry ; but your unexpected maneuvers yesterday prevented 
my doing so." 

" We had to fight to keep Hooker from moving too rapidly," 
replied the aide ; " but the engagement had no important 
result." 

"Well," remarked the general, "we are likely to have hot 
work to-day, for one of my scouts reports their infantry in mo 
tion through the Aldie Gap." 

"He is mistaken," I said in a confident tone; "for I ascer 
tained last night from a citizen, that the main force of the 
Yanks were still in camp on the other side." 

"Is that so?" exclaimed the brigadier: "I hope it is, upon 
my soul, for we are not prepared for a decided stand." 

" You forget, general, that our entire army is now past Front 
Royal," said I, sipping my coffee with the air of a man confi 
dent of his information. 

" I m glad to hear you say so, lieutenant, for it proves that 
this infernal race will soon be over," said the general. 

" I consider it over now, in fact," said I, springing into my 
saddle again. " I must make haste and overtake the advance. 
So good-day, gentlemen." 

My progress through Snicker s Gap was an uneventful one, 
and I fully enjoyed the ride over the mountains. By eight 
o clock I had commenced the descent into the Valley of the 
Shenandoah ; and, as I struck the open road, my eye was insen 
sibly attracted by the novelty of the scene spread out at my 
feet. Every thing was in seeming confusion. The main roads 
leading to the River Potomac were marked by clouds of dust, 
evidence of the movements of large bodies of troops and trains. 
The plain to the right was dark with moving masses of troops, 



310 BULLET AND SHELL. 

and my pulse quickened with the thought that I was now a 
spy inside the lines of the enemy. 

When fairly across the Shenandoah River, I gave my steed 
the rein, and by noon was cantering over the neglected pave 
ments of Winchester. I found the town full of troops and 
wagon-trains ; and with some difficulty wended my way to the 
railroad-depot, which I learned was the quartermaster s store 
house. On my arrival, I presented my order for a fresh horse 
to the officer on duty. He glanced at the document, and with 
an oath threw it contemptuously aside, saying as he did so, 

" Beg your pardon, lieutenant, for my apparent rudeness. 
But those people at general headquarters seem to think we can 
furnish any thing. Here you bring an order for a horse, and I 
haven t one even for myself." 

" Oh ! never mind, quartermaster ; though I am sorry I can 
not get a fresh horse, for I am in urgent need of haste. I ll do 
the best I can, if you will give me some short forage to take 
with me." 

"Come, now,. that s reasonable talk. We have, luckily, a lot 
of oats on hand just now. One of General Swell s trains came 
in this morning from Maryland, with all sorts of stuff." 

In such good-humor did the quartermaster become, in conse 
quence of my unaccustomed complaisance, that he invited me 
to dinner at a house hard by, kindly permitting me to pay 
sixty-five dollars for it in Confederate scrip. He informed me 
that General Ewell had crossed the Potomac near Williamsport, 
and was pushing rapidly across Maryland for Pennsylvania. I 
accordingly made up my mind to strike one of the fords above 
Martinsburg, and endeavor to overtake the column near the 
border-line. 

" Do you know whether the Yanks have any troops in Mary 
land ? " I asked as we discussed our frugal meal of rye-coffee, 
eggs, ham, and wheat-cakes. 

" Why, bless you ! " he replied, " they haven t got over the 
surprise we gave them by turning their flank so neatly, after 



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THE SCOUT S STORY. 313 

that infernal fight at Brandy, which so crippled us in horse 
flesh." 

As I trotted out of the town, I found the Berryville pike- 
road completely choked by General Longstreet s wagon and 
ammunition trains ; accordingly turned into the Smithfield 
road toward Mount Summit, finding the infantry in posses 
sion. 

Fresh as I was from the midst of our own well-appointed and 
disciplined army, the contrast afforded by these Confederate 
troops was a striking one. Marching pell-mell, with no heed to 
order or formation, the infantry scuttled along at a terrific rate 
of speed. The men were but lightly clad, very few had a knap 
sack, nor were they much burdened with blankets or shelter- 
tents ; betokening great suffering and hardship in wet and tem 
pestuous weather. The day being then a warm and pleasant 
one, the troops seemed in great spirits, laughing and joking 
over the prospect of going over into " Maryland, my Mary 
land." None of the men had, however, that rugged, healthy 
look so noticeable in our own army. 

I had very little difficulty in making good progress past these 
ragged but brave-looking troops ; as they nearly all avoided the 
road, preferring the turf on either side, to lessen the dust. 
When I reached the fork of the Mount-Summit road, I over 
took General Longstreet and his staff, as they sat on their horses 
watching the progress of the corps. Determined not to fight 
shy of any one, I rode boldly up to the general, whom I recog 
nized by his abundant beard and flowing hair. Inquiring if he 
could give me any advice regarding my route toward General 
Swell s column, I stated I carried dispatches from General Lee 
for that officer. 

" I don t know exactly where General Ewell is pushing for, 
myself, lieutenant," said the general courteously. " I only 
know that I am to cross above Martinsburg, and then press 
across the country until I connect with him." 

" I understood that was your route," I replied, as though I 



314 BULLET AND SHELL. 

knew all about it. " I presume General Stuart s cavalry will 
cover your flank/ 

" Yes : I rely on his co-operation to some extent, now that 
General Ewell has taken Imboden and Jenkins with him." 

" My own idea, general, was, to strike across the river right 
ahead, and endeavor to overtake General Ewell near Hagers- 
town, by the Sharpsburg road. I believe those roads are all 
open." 

"That would be your best route," replied General Long- 
street. " Do you know the purport of your orders, or have you 
duplicates for me ? " 

" General Ewell is to make a rapid movement on Chambers- 
burg, and at the same time collect supplies." 

" Well, if that is all," exclaimed General Longstreet with a 
genial laugh; u he seems to have anticipated his instructions 
pretty well; for I saw two immense trains coming from him 
yesterday." 

"Indeed! I am glad of that. But I must beg your permis 
sion to ride forward. Here are my passes, sir." 

General Longstreet merely glanced at my papers, saying, 
" All right, sir : I trust you will have good success. Please tell 
General Ewell for me, that I expect to open communication 
with him to-morrow or the next day. Do you know whether 
General Lee is coming up?" 

" His headquarters were to be at Cedar Creek this morning, 
I believe ; and he will probably reach the river to-night. 
Good-day, sir." 

Lifting my hat in salute, I rode off, reaching Martinsburg 
before sunset, and soon after forded the Potomac just above 
the town. I had a lonely ride for several hours, when, my 
faithful mare showing signs of fatigue, I decided to rest for the 
night, which I did in a deserted barn ; being quite refreshed in 
the morning. 

At daylight I was again in the saddle, somewhat stiff from 
my unaccustomed horseback-exercise ; but I persevered, and 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 315 

kept the road all day, meeting a citizen now and then as I 
pushed forward. As the evening drew on, I found myself near 
Hagerstown, where I expected to find General Ewell. Riding 
on for a mile or two farther, I was rewarded by the sight of a 
camp, which I rightly judged to be that of Swell s corps. The 
pickets soon had me in charge, and I was immediately escorted 
to the general s headquarters, situated in a house on the other 
side of the town. As soon as my arrival was announced, I was 
ushered into his presence. 

" Well, sir ! " said the general sharply, " what is your busi 
ness with me ? " 

" I have ridden from army headquarters, sir, since the day 
before yesterday, and bring you these dispatches," said I, hand 
ing him the tinfoil packet I had received from Watson. 

General Ewell hurriedly opened the packet, and, walking 
over to a lamp, soon mastered their contents, saying as he did 
so, 

" You have nrrived in good time, lieutenant ; for I was find 
ing myself at the end of the brief instructions given me by 
General Lee before crossing the Potomac." 

44 1 was told to make haste, sir, and would have reached you 
some hours ago, had I not been disappointed in obtaining a 
fresh horse at Winchester." 

" That was unfortunate, and I thank you for your persever 
ance. Where do you intend going next ? " 

" I am directed to strike the Potomac below Harper s Ferry, 
join General Stuart, and report your progress ; but I shall 
never reach him with my mare, as she is completely used up." 

" You shall have another from a batch of fat Yankee horses 
we captured to-day," replied General Ewell. 

" I passed General Longstreet s corps near Martinsburg yes 
terday, general," said I : " he told me to say that he expects 
to overtake you to-morrow." 

" Glad to hear it : we need him very much," said the general, 
leading me to the veranda, and introducing me to his staff. 



316 BULLET AND SHELL. 

One of these young gentlemen, finding that I had ridden 
hard all day, suggested supper, which meal I soon discussed. 
Finding my blankets and saddle on the veranda, I made up my 
bed there, the night being a sultry one ; and I soon fell asleep, 
despite the dangers by which I was surrounded. 

The sun was well up when I awoke. The troops were 
already in rapid motion, and I had scarcely achieved my 
toilet before a summons to breakfast came from the staff. An 
hour after, we were galloping hard after General Ewell as he 
rode forward to gain the advance of the corps, I having been 
furnished with a powerful horse wrested from the possession of 
some Maryland farmer. 

I had intended leaving General Ewell at Hagerstown, under 
pretense of taking the road for Berlin ; but my plan was upset 
by a report that the Federals were in possession of the lower 
fords. I was therefore compelled, in order to avoid suspicion, to 
remain with the general until a more favorable opportunity 
offered; and accompanied the column until it reached Cham- 
bersburg. The scenes I witnessed were both novel and inter 
esting , so much so, indeed, that for a time I forgot my danger 
in the possible arrival of some new carrier from General Lee, 
who would readily expose my imposture, and doom me to meet 
the fate of a spy. 

As we progressed, I was astonished at the celerity with which 
the Confederate cavalry gathered immense droves of valuable 
cattle, besides accumulating other stores. The entire country 
seemed panic-stricken by the devastation going on. 

When our column reached Chambersburg, one of the divis 
ions was sent to Carlisle and a second towards York, the inten 
tion being to force the passage of the Susquehanna River ; the 
Confederates being in high glee at the apparent hesitation of 
the Federals in pursuing them. While I was casting about 
for a plausible excuse to leave, news arrived that the Northern 
militia had destroyed several bridges on the Susquehanna ; and 
I ascertained that a retrograde movement had already been 



THE SCOUT S STOEY. 317 

commenced by the advanced divisions of the Confederate 
army. 

General Lee being reported to be at Hagerstown, I bade 
adieu to General Ewell, ostensibly to join general head 
quarters. 

On riding out of Chambersburg, I found every thing in 
confusion ; and it was easy to see that the programme of 
operations had been suddenly changed, the effect, evidently, 
of some bold maneuver of the Federal army. Both Longstreet 
and Hill had been checked in their movement on Harrisburg , 
and, when I reached the vicinity of the South Mountain range, 
I was surprised to see both of their corps moving rapidly for 
the upper Gaps, preparing to cross. 

Near midnight I overtook the main body of General Long- 
street s corps as it passed through the Gap, and experienced 
no difficulty in ascertaining that General Lee intended concen 
trating his forces the next day. 

While I sat on my horse by the roadside, vainly endeavoring 
to discover the destination of the troops as they pressed for 
ward, the clew was unexpectedly placed in my hands. A staff- 
officer suddenly accosted me, and asked if I knew the road or 
the distance to Gettysburg. The name fell flatly on my ear, 
though I saw in an instant that a clever stratagem might aid 
me in getting the information I sought. 

" You are fortunate, sir, in your question," I replied : " I 
have just come from there/ 

" Indeed ! Then General Ewell is in possession ? " he ex 
claimed eagerly. 

" He must be by this time," said I at bap-hazard, endeavoring 
to discover his meaning. 

" But how came you here ? " 

" Oh ! I was sent up to communicate with General Longstreet, 
and I am now waiting for a chance to get through to General 
Hill with orders for him," said I, getting a little frightened at 
the necessity for so much invention. 



318 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Well, my errand is a more important one, sir : so I must 
request your aid to set me on the right road." 

" With pleasure, sir," I replied : " I ll ride back into the val 
ley with you, as far as the cross-roads." 

Without another word, we both rode on as fast as the moving 
column would permit, until we reached the open country. On 
taking up the conversation again, I inquired of my companion 
if he did not believe we would have a battle soon. He ex 
pressed the opinion that a collision could not be deferred many 
days ; also informing me that the entire Confederate army 
would be concentrated near Gettysburg before the close of an 
other day, as the Federals were reported to be moving rapidly 
up from Frederick City. 

" But why make a stand at Gettysburg ? " I asked. " My 
impression was, that General Lee intended to first strike 
Harrisburg." 

" So he did, yesterday : but General Hooker has been suc 
ceeded by General Meade in the command of the Federal army, 
and he evidently means to force a fight wherever he can meet 
us ; so we will not balk him." 

"No doubt of that," I replied, "unless the Yanks succeed 
in outflanking us." 

"That may be General Meade s notion, though he ll find 
himself mightily mistaken by to-morrow night." 

Here was news in earnest, and I saw I had mastered the 
Confederate situation completely. Lee intended to surprise 
my old corps-commander, by a forced march which would 
gather his whole army and enable it to fall upon the scattered 
columns of the dear old Army of the Potomac. By defeating 
one or two, he would demoralize Meade s troops, and gain 
another victory. The time for leaving the Confederate lines 
had at length arrived, and I was now in an excellent position 
to effect my escape. 

Having now left the column, and entered a side road, osten 
sibly to show my companion a short cut, but really to avoid 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 319 

General Longstreet and his staff, who were, of course, ahead, 
I galloped on for a mile or two until we reached another cross 
ing, when I drew rein, and, pointing to the left, audaciously 
informed the Confederate there was his road, and prepared to 
leave him. 

"I am a thousand times obliged to you, sir, for your kind 
ness," said he politely. " May I know whom I have to thank 
for this service ? 7 

"Certainly, sir: I m Lieutenant Watson, of General Lee s 
staff, at your service." 

" Who did you say ? " he exclaimed in an excited voice. 

"Lieutenant Fred Watson, special and confidential scout," 
I replied, feeling quite uneasy at his manner. 

" No, I ll be hanged if you are ! " shouted my troublesome 
friend, suddenly drawing his revolver. " You are an infernal 
Yankee spy ! that s what you are." 

In less time than I can tell you, Wilmot, I had fathomed the 
depth of my peril. I had unluckily encountered one of Lee s 
personal staff, and knew, that, if he was permitted to discharge 
his pistol, the report would increase my danger, even if I es 
caped a wound. But the human mind acts rapidly : so I formed 
my plan in a second. 

Deigning no reply to the fierce denunciation of my opponent, 
I plunged both spurs savagely into the quivering flanks of my 
horse, causing him to plunge in terror and sudden force against 
the shoulder of my accusers steed. As the two animals came 
in collision, I seized one of my revolvers from my belt, and 
dashed the hand thus weighted full into the face of the Confed 
erate. So terrific was the blow, aided by the impetus given it 
by the horse s plunge, that the aide reeled in his saddle, and 
finally tumbled head over heels into the road, bleeding, blinded, 
and half-stunned by the fall. 

As the officer struck the ground, without a moment s hesita 
tion I turned and dashed wildly down the road, revolver in 
hand, determined to escape, or sell my life dearly. 



320 BULLET AND SHELL. 

On, on, I galloped in the uncertain light of an approaching 
day , but as I grimly sat in my saddle, and urged the horse 
forward, I felt equal to the perils by which I seemed surrounded. 
I had ridden nearly a mile from the scene of the struggle, when 
my horse checked his headlong speed to cross a small stream. 
As his feet touched the water, my attentive ear caught the 
sound of another horse in the road behind me, evidently in 
pursuit. 

Supposing that the discomfited aide had recovered himself, 
and was endeavoring to overtake me, I determined to give him 
a long, stern chase. My horse also heard the pursuer, and 
apparently entered into my feelings, for he stretched out into 
a long, hard gallop that soon gave me the advantage I sought. 
An hour passed in this way, and yet I could hear my pursuer 
at my heels , until, becoming tired of the chase, I decided to 
put an end to it. Drawing my horse to one side, under the 
shadow of a convenient tree, I awaited the advent of my foe. 

Nearer and nearer came the sound of the horse s feet, until 
he suddenly came in sight. Tightly grasping my reins with 
one hand, I held a revolver in the other, prepared to open the 
duel I believed to be inevitable. As the animal passed me I 
was astonished to find him riderless; and, his quick instinct 
causing him to check his pace at the scent of my steed, I saw 
that I had been running away from a horse and not a man. 
When I had unhorsed my antagonist, the animal had taken 
fright and naturally galloped after his equine companion, thus 
doing me an inestimable service. 

Laughing heartily over the oddity of the adventure, I took 
possession of the horse, and more leisurely proceeded on my 
journey. 

Daylight came soon after ; when I examined the saddle-bags 
of the unfortunate aide, who was no doubt in a sad plight. 
Besides a few biscuits and an under-shirt, I found a map which 
proved to be of great value ; for upon it were traced the pro 
jected movements of General Lee s three infantry corps, with 



THE SCOUT S STORY. 321 

some brief comments and directions for General Ewell written 
on the margin. 

Overjoyed at this bit of unexpected good luck, I was busily 
examining the map, when a bright flash followed by a sudden 
explosion on my right told me quite clearly that a train of some 
kind had been captured and destroyed. A short distance ahead 
I came to another of the cross-roads, so numerous in that sec 
tion ; and a moment later was brought into collision with a 
mounted Confederate, who ran right between my two horses. 
Both he and I were dismounted by the shock, and before we 
could recover ourselves were made prisoners by a portion of 
General Kilpatrick s cavalry. 

Making myself known to the officer in command of the 
detachment, I was sent under escort to the cavalry general, 
whom I found a few miles farther on. Exhibiting Watson s 
secret Federal pass, which he had cleverly concealed in one of 
the jacket-buttons, I soon convinced Kilpatrick I had need of 
haste to reach the commanding general ; being promptly given 
an escort and a guide. 

We found General Meade near a village called Two Taverns, 
on the line of Pipe Creek. When I rode up he was nervously 
pacing up and down under a tree. Catching sight of my Con 
federate uniform, the general stopped abruptly, and demanded 
my errand. 

"I have just arrived from General Lee s army, sir," said I, 
" and know something about his plans." 

"Where is Lee now, and how is he moving?" asked General 
Meade, eying me sharply through his glasses. 

"Ewell had abandoned his movement on the Susquehanna, 
sir, when I left the Confederate lines this morning ; and he is 
heading this way. Generals Hill and Longstreet are both 
moving across the South Mountains to join him." 

" I know Ewell has fallen back, but are you sure about the 
other corps?" said General Meade. 

" Quite so," I replied. " I struck both their corps on the 



322 BULLET AND SHELL. 

* 

other side of the range last night, and came over with Gen 
eral Longstreet s column. You were reported to be. moving in 
full force to attack Ewell, hence this sudden change in Lee s 
maneuvers." 

" I believe we are all here, remarked the general in a sar 
donic tone ; " and I m glad the beggars are concentrating. 
Where do you suppose their rendezvous to be ? " 

" Somewhere near a place called Gettysburg, sir, and I could 
see last night that haste had been insisted upon." 

As I spoke, a staff-officer rode up, when, suddenly catching 
my eye, he exclaimed, 

44 Hullo, sergeant ! so you ve got back, eh ? I was afraid you 
had got into some trouble." 

I had no difficulty in recognizing in the speaker the scout 
I had been personating while inside the Confederate lines; but, 
before I could reply to his salutation, General Meade demanded 
an explanation. Watson briefly related the facts attending an 
exchange of characters ; which statement elicited a few words 
of compliment from the general, who expressed himself as 
much pleased with my success, and spoke of promotion as a 
reward. It was then that I triumphantly produced the Con 
federate map I had captured in so singular a manner, and was 
gratified to find its value properly appreciated. 

So you see, captain, that was how I became a scout ; and I 
have since learned to like the life for its many excitements as 
well as perils. 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 



323 



CHAPTER XXVII. 



A CHANGE IN FOETUNE. 

" Therewith they gan, both furious and fell, 
To thunder blowes, and fiercely to assail." 

N rejoining our regiment from picket-duty at 
the ford, we found every thing in readiness 
for the final move. Haines had informed me 
that Lee was preparing to act on the defensive, 
therefore the burden of assault must fall on our 
shoulders : the campaign would undoubtedly 
be a desperate one. The concentration of the 
Federal army along the bank of the Rapidaii 
was sufficient indication to us that Grant in 
tended fighting his antagonist on Hooker s 
old ground: so we should have no tedious 
series of marches to make before reaching a 
battle-field. The morale of the army was excellent ; and as it 
had been strengthened by the arrival of the Washington garri 
sons, and the Ninth Corps under Burnside, there was a feeling 
of confidence in the ranks. 

On the 3d of May the long-expected orders came ; and, before 
nightfall, the entire army was in motion. The Fifth and Sixth 
Corps, under Warren and Sedgwick, were to cross at Germanna 
Ford, and form the right and center ; while Hancock was to 
take the Second Corps to Ely s Ford, and, advancing towards 
Chancellorsville, occupy the left of the formidable line. Burn- 
side s command, having made a straight march from Alexandria 
along the line of the railroad, was held in reserve. A division 




324 BULLET AND SHELL. 

of cavalry led each of the infantry columns, and were to 
uncover the enemy s position. 

We marched to within striking distance of the fords, halting 
at midnight. Being again afoot at daybreak, we reached the 
river soon after sunrise. As we passed through the woods, our 
pontoon-train clattered by ; and, when we arrived at the top 
of the steep and winding road that led to the ford, we found 
Wilson s cavalry division halted among the trees, waiting for 
the engineers to build the bridge. 

It was a picturesque scene, full of that pomp and excitement 
attending important and serious movements of an army. The 
sun shone bright and warm through the budding trees, and 
its rays played in lazy dalliance on many a musket-barrel and 
saber-hilt. Here and there among the undergrowth, an early 
shrub was clothed with fresh green leaves, a visible token that 
spring-time had come ; and there was a delicious perfume per 
vading the forest, that made me think of home and my boyhood 
pleasures. The colors of the regiments, brigades, or divisions, 
though torn and tattered by previous campaigns, lost their faded 
look, as they idly waved in the morning air, or were caught by 
the gleam of sunshine that streamed through the fairy network 
of limbs and branches over our heads. 

The men were in high spirits, and many a merry jest was 
passed along the ranks as we slowly descended the hill. It 
was indeed an exhilarating moment ; and as I listened to the 
murmur of many voices, the sound of hurrying feet, or the 
monotonous rumble of cannon and caisson, I felt my heart 
beat high with pride and expectation. 

Our bridge was soon finished ; there being no opposition 
offered by the enemy, beyond a few scattered shots from the 
pickets as they precipitately retired before our imposing num 
bers. As the last plank fell into its place, the cavalry clattered 
across, and were soon out of sight. We followed ; and by sun 
set the entire corps had reached the vicinity of Old Wilderness 
Tavern, at the intersection of the plank-road with the Orange 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 



325 



Court House turnpike. Sedgwick and his men reached the 
southern bank of the river before nightfall, bivouacking near 
the ford ; and I learned from a staff-officer that Hancock had 
also reached his position on the Chancellorsville road. The 
passage of the river had been successfully accomplished : three 
strong corps, comprising nearly one hundred thousand men, 
over one hundred pieces of artillery, and fifteen thousand 







CROSSING THE KAPIDAN. 

horsemen, had crossed a swollen and turbulent stream, and 
plunged boldly into the wilderness beyond. The reserve corps 
and our immense train of four thousand wagons were waiting 
on the other side for the result of the impending collision 
between the two opposing armies. 

" Well, Wilmot," said Major Harding, as we sat eating supper 
together, "we are fairly embarked on another campaign. I 
wonder who of us will see the end of it?" 



326 BULLET AND SHELL. 

u Ah ! that is a question time alone can solve," I replied. 

" Our regiment will not have the luck of our last cam 
paign," said Captain Burch, who, as usual, was in a querulous 
mood. 

" Perhaps not," responded the major : " we were very fortu 
nate last summer, considering the service we did. Fitzgerald, 
Dunne, and poor stuttering Whipple were the only officers 
killed, you know; and we lost very few men at Gettysburg, 
compared with other regiments." 

" We ll pay up for it now," said Captain Burch. " I hate 
this bush-fighting : you never know exactly where you are." 

" Come, come, Burch, there s no use finding fault," I ex 
claimed, fairly out of patience ; for the captain s habit sorely 
tried my temper at all times. 

" I know it, and that s why I do it," said Burch whimsically : 
" it s the only comfort I have." 

" Precious queer comfort it must be," remarked the major. 
" If I did not know you, Burch, to be as brave an officer as 
any in the regiment, I should be tempted at times to think you 
were afraid." 

" That s just what provokes me," said I. " He is always 
grumbling until we go into action : then he is as cool as a 
cucumber, and as jolly as one could wish." 

"Well, well, boys, don t mind me. I know I m a queer 
specimen ; but you two ought to know Ned Burch by this 
time," and the captain held out a hand to each of us. 

" God bless j^ou, old fellow," said the major : " your heart is 
in the right place, wherever your tongue may be." 

" I suppose you will both laugh at me, but somehow I feel 
that Ned won t grumble much longer," said the captain. 

" Nonsense, man ! " exclaimed Major Harding. " Why, you 
haven t had a scratch since we first came out." 

" All the more reason for my going under now. No, I don t 
expect to escape this time." 

" Upon my word, Burch, you are a trifle more disagreeable 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 327 

than usual to-night," said I. "What in the world put such 
gloomy forebodings into your head?" 

" I ll tell you ; " and here the captain s voice unconsciously 
grew soft and tender: "you must know that I was not always 
the carping wretch that I now am. When I was younger, and 
the world seemed as bright as it no doubt appears to you, 
Frank, I loved a beautiful girl, and rejoiced in the knowledge 
that my love was reciprocated. We were to be married, Nelly 
and I ; and I was as happy as is possible for us poor weak mortals. 
Then she fell ill, and died in my arms, her soft eyes full of love 
for me until death closed them forever. When they lowered 
my girl s body into the grave, I felt myself a changed man, and 
became the moody creature I am. Then this war came, and I 
volunteered, reckless as to my fate. At times I fancy my Nelly 
is near me, when my heart grows as soft as a woman s. Last 
night while we were sleeping over there among the trees, I 
dreamed that she came and told me the end was near. As she 
spoke, I saw a field in some woods, near a road, and found 
myself charging across it with the regiment. We reached the 
edge of the field, and I saw a low breastwork in the brush 
beyond. Just at that moment a sheet of flame sprang from the 
breastwork, and I knew I was hit. An intense pain shot 
through my body, and I awoke to find it all a dream. Depend 
upon it, though, it was a warning." 

" What ! frightened by a dream? " exclaimed Major Harding. 

" No," said the captain : " I have no fear." 

Both Harding and myself were depressed by Burch s 
forebodings : so we wrapped ourselves in our blankets, leaving 
our friend gazing into the fire in moody silence. 

The sun was already up, when a touch from Dennis woke 
me from my slumbers, the men being busy over their break 
fasts. A cup of steaming coffee and a biscuit sufficed me ; for 
the excitement of the movement took aw r ay my appetite, and 
I was glad when orders came for us to go forward. We passed 
down the road for about half a mile, until the ground became 



328 BULLET AND SHELL. 

uneven; finding Generals Grant and Meade waiting for us in a 
nook in the woods by the wayside. Behind these two officers 
lounged their brilliant staffs, carelessly watching our corps as 
it passed. General Meade was standing on the bank that over 
looked the road, his soldierly figure contrasting strangely with 
that of the lieutenant-general, who was seated on a decaying 
stump, apparently more interested in the toe of his boot than 
our movements. An unlighted cigar was between Grant s teeth, 
and he chewed the weed viciously. When our regiment came 
in front of the two generals, I caught a glimpse of General 
Grant s eyes, as he lifted them for a moment. Clear and 
steady, calm and confident, this great leader seemed in that 
single glance to take in the face of every man within his range ; 
and I was impressed by the strong will betokened by the square 
chin and the firm mouth of the man who was planning and 
conducting our campaign. The tall, courtly figure of Meade, 
his trim gray hair, and neat regulation cap, gave him a martial 
look, as he leaned on his saber ; while the heavy frame of Grant, 
who wore no sword, seemed the very opposite of my precon 
ceived ideas of our new commander. The wide-brimmed hat, 
pulled down over his eyes, and the closely clipped beard, made 
the renowned chieftain appear so unlike a soldier that it needed 
the uniform and the broad shoulder-strap, with its row of triple 
stars, to remind one that here was a warrior already famous. 

In a moment we had passed, and it was long before I again 
saw either of these generals. 

"An was that Grant?" said Dennis to me as soon as we 
were out of sight of the distinguished group. 

" Yes. What do you think of him ? " I asked. 

" He s a quare-looking gineral," responded the sergeant. 
"But he s a foighter: his eye tells that." 

" Do you like his looks, Dennis ? " 

" Faix, an I do. Whin he makes up his mind to do a thing 
he ll hang on like a tarrier." 

The line now began breaking off from the road into the 




PASSINtt GllANT AXD MEADE. 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 331 

woods on our right ; and, as my regiment followed in its turn, I 
saw our corps commander, General Warren, standing on some 
rising ground in front, apparently watching for signs of the 
enemy we all knew must be quite near. Behind the general, 
coolly sitting on a log by the side of the road, was Osborne the 
correspondent, whom we had not seen or heard of since Christ 
mas. Seeing me, he rose and joined us. 

" Halloa, Wilmot ! so you are going in, eh ? " said he as we 
shook hands. " This promises to be a desperate fight." 

" It does indeed," was my reply. " Where have you been to 
all this winter ? " 

" You would never guess." 

" I suppose not. Is it a secret? " 

" Not now. I went down to Nassau, New Providence." 

"What for, pray?" I asked in some surprise. 

" Oh ! our chief thought a few hints about the blockade-run 
ners would be useful and interesting : and, happening to be in 
New York, he packed me off by the first steamer. But it didn t 
pay. The blockade business has gone to pieces : so, after roast 
ing a few weeks among the coral-reefs, I pulled up sticks and 
came home, just in time to join you fellows here among the 
trees and vines." 

"Is the enemy in force here, Osborne?" asked Major 
Harding. 

" That s just what Warren is trying to discover. As yet 
there are no signs, but they can not be far off." 

"Why?" 

" Well, you see," replied Osborne, " Lee can not afford to let 
us pass these dense woods well named the Wilderness 
without a fight, for then we could have him in comparatively 
open country." 

" You talk very learnedly, Osborne," said I, laughing at his 
confident tone. " You ought to be a lieutenant-general." 

" I suppose it does seem odd to you to hear me speak as I 
do," remarked Osborne; "but we correspondents have to study 



332 BULLET AND SHELL. 

military problems, as well as the generals, or we couldn t de 
scribe campaigns and battles intelligently.* 

What do you expect the result will be?" asked Captain 
Burch. 

"Hard to say. But one thing you may be certain of: we re 
not going across the Rapidan again. Grant has come here to 
stay." 

" I m devilish glad of it," said Burch. " We must be nearly 
two to one ; and, if we can t hold our ground with these odds, 
we had better give up and be done with it/ 

"It s not a question of holding ground, captain," sagely 
remarked the correspondent. " Grant will fight all round Lee 
if necessary. He means to turn his flank if possible." 

" Hooker tried that, and succeeded for a time," replied the 
captain with a harsh laugh. " Yet we got the worst licking at 
Chancellorsville since the war began." 

" You mustn t compare Grant to Hooker," exclaimed Osborne 
warmly. " Besides, Grant has more power : Washington inter 
ference is cut off now." 

" By the flank, march ! " cried our colonel ; and away we 
went crashing through the trees, leaving the correspondent to 
his own devices. 

Our brigade formed the left of the division ; and, as we lay 
in line of battle, I could see that the others were taking up 
position on the left of the wood. At the same tune orders 
came for skirmishers, Lieutenant Foster being selected to 
command our regimental detail. 

As yet a deep silence reigned in the woods, and one un 
accustomed to campaign-life would scarcely believe that a 
desperate and bloody battle was so soon to commence. 

I had begun to ponder on the probabilities of the future, 
when word was passed down the line that Colonel Lloyd wished 
to see his officers. 

"Gentlemen," said the colonel as we gathered round him, 
"we are to go forward soon and engage. I learn from General 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 333 

Fletcher that Lee is believed to be in strong force on our im 
mediate front : so we must be prepared to bear the brunt of 
this fight. Are the men in good spirits ? " 

" Couldn t be better," said Lieutenant-Colonel Purcell : " I ve 
just passed along the line, and found them cool and quiet." 

" That s well. Now, gentlemen, to your stations." 

As the colonel spoke, he held out his hands : we clasped them 
in turn, and then silently separated to our companies. It was 
a soldierly farewell and a brave one. Of the nineteen officers 
present, seven were to die before the sun set. 

" Take care of yourself, Frank," said Major Harding, as he 
shook my hand before walking over to his place in the line. 

" I ll try to," I replied briefly but cheerily. 

" Zouaves, move forward ! " shouted our colonel. 

Steadily, silently, the line advanced through the tangled 
undergrowth for a few hundred yards, when the order came to 
halt. As yet we had discovered no signs of the enemy, and the 
pickets remained silent. Finding that we were not to move 
immediately, the men sat down in ranks and patiently waited. 
Seeing the major lying on the ground near me, I went over 
to him. 

" Well, Wilmot," said he, as I sat down beside him, " this 
looks like business : crossing a river one day, and going into an 
engagement the next, is quick work." 

kt Yes, indeed," I replied. " It s not what we are accustomed 
to ; but, do you know, I rather like it. Those long marches 
tire one out so ! " 

" So do I like it. Though I agree with Burch about fighting 
in the woods : our artillery is positively useless here." 

" But I saw a section of a battery pass up the road only a 
few minutes ago," said I. 

" I know it," replied Major Harding ; " but it s only a sec 
tion. What can a couple of guns do ? We ought to be able 
to use half a dozen whole batteries. No : we must depend on 
the musket and bullet to-day." 



334 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Where s Colonel Lloyd ? " suddenly exclaimed young Jen 
kins, our brigadier s aide, as his horse came tumbling through 
the bushes. 

" Here," replied the colonel, rising from the ground near by, 
" What is it, Jenkins ? " 

"You are to move forward, sir, to the edge of a field in 
front," said the aide ; " and when you get there, have your men 
fix bayonets, and lie down until the bugle sounds the advance." 

" All right, Jenkins : I understand. Attention, battalion ! " 

Away we went, headlong, through the young timber. 
Scarcely had the line begun moving when our pickets opened 
merrily. The battle had fairly begun. 

In a few moments we came up to the pickets, and passed 
through their line. Now the bullets began to spatter among 
the trees, and I saw one or two men fall. Going on for a few 
yards farther, I noticed Hyde, one of my men, standing still, 
the regiment leaving him behind. Angry at the thought that 
the fellow was endeavoring to slip to the rear, I rushed at him 
with my sword. But the undergrowth of vines hindered me, 
and it was with difficulty that I reached the seeming skulker. 

" Go forward, sir ! what are you standing there for ? " I 
shouted. 

As I roughly seized the man s arm, his body swayed for an 
instant, and, the next, fell heavily to the ground. He was dead. 
A ball had passed through his brain, while the dense under 
growth had held his lifeless body erect as if alive. 

Shocked by the discovery, I dashed on after the regiment, 
and lay down with the men at the edge of the field. It was a 
mere patch of cleared ground in the midst of the forest, and 
had evidently been abandoned before the war began ; for sev 
eral young pines had taken root here and there in the center. 
We were still in doubt as to the precise position of the enemy ; 
though we knew they were now quite close, by the increased 
showers of bullets that were clipping the branches over our 
heads. 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 335 

Captain Burch crept to my side, his face brighter than I had 
ever noticed it before. 

" We re going in soon, Wilmot," said he in a strange voice. 
" My dream is coming true." 

" Nonsense, man ! Confound your dream ! " I retorted. 

"Ah! but here s the field, and yonder we shall find the 
breastworks," replied the captain, quietly pointing across the 
opening before us. 

A feeling of awe began to overpower me at Burch s strange 
words and manner ; but it was at once dispelled by the shrill 
notes of our general s bugle, ordering the charge. The men 
heard, and understood it also; for, without waiting for our 
colonel to give the word of command, away they went, pell- 
mell, over the open ground. 

A perfect hailstorm of bullets saluted us as we emerged from 
the shelter of the trees, and men were soon dropping in every 
direction. On we went, however ; but scarcely three-fourths 
of the regiment crossed the field, and entered the woods on the 
other side. 

I had stumbled over a wounded man, who fell in front of me 
when half-way across the field , and, while picking myself up 
again to follow ths regiment, I saw Dennis stoop and seize the 
colors, as their bearer turned over on his side and expired. 
Dennis waved the flag exultantly, and rushed to the front. 
He gained the edge of the woods, when the colors went down 
once more. I ran towards the spot, seeing the flag rise 
again as I did so ; but Dennis no longer carried them, for 
i found him stretched on the ground, his face bathed in 
blood. 

" Where are you hit, Dennis ? " said I, bending over him. 

He smiled faintly, and put his hand under his arm. 

" Somewhere in me side," said he. " Bedad, it felt like a 
cannon-ball." 

" Try and get to the rear, Dennis, while you have strength." 

" I suppose I d betther, but I hate to leave ye, captain dear. 



336 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



Share, you might get killed without me," said Dennis, half- 
whimpering at the thought of our parting. 

" Come, Dennis, you have your legs : go at once to the rear. 
Good-by, old fellow." 

" Good-by, and God bless and presarve ye ! " cried Dennis, as 
I once more ran after the regiment. 




IN THE WILDERNESS. 

I had not far to go ; for our men, having discovered the 
opposing line, began pouring in a fierce and destructive return 
volley. As I joined my company, the musketry grew fiercer and 
fiercer ; and the row of dead and dying lying about our feet 
rapidly thickened. Our regiment was melting away in the 
intense heat of the battle. 

Then a lull came, and our voices were audible. Looking 
round, I saw that Major Harding was by my side. 

" My God ! " he exclaimed, " this is dreadful. We won t 



A CHANGE IN FORTUNE. 337 

have a man standing if this continues. Why don t they bring 
up our supports ? " 

" Where is the colonel ? " I asked. 

" Over on the right," replied the major. " But Lieutenant- 
Colonel Purcell is killed. Where s Burch ? " 

" Here ! " answered the captain. " I m not hit yet, but " 

As he uttered the words, Burch suddenly reeled, clapped his 
hand to his heart, and then, turning swiftly round like a top, 
fell dead between the major and myself. His dream had 
indeed been fulfilled. 

Major Harding s face wore a ghastly look, as he gazed, horror- 
stricken, at the body of his friend. 

" Major," said a sergeant belonging to one of the right com 
panies, " Colonel Lloyd has just been killed. The adjutant 
sent me to say that you are now in command." 

" How did it happen ? " said I, seeing that the major could 
not speak for the moment. 

" A ball clean through his head," replied the sergeant laconi 
cally. 

" Come, Harding ! " I exclaimed, laying my hand on his arm, 
" rouse yourself. What are we to do next ? " 

" We ll go to the rear," replied the major, drawing his hand 
over his eyes as if in pain. " It s madness to stay here any 
longer, for they are not supporting us." 

While speaking, Major Harding touched two or three of the 
men nearest him, and told them to go back. They obeyed, and 
the remainder followed. The whole line wavered for an instant, 
then the remnant of our shattered and bleeding regiment began 
retreating in tolerably fair order. Our movement was the signal 
for a withering volley from the enemy s breastworks. At that 
moment I felt a sharp, stinging pain flash through my body : 
the ground seemed to rise up under my feet, and I fell at full 
length across the body of my dead captain. I tried to rise, but 
my strength had suddenly left me. I felt the blood gush from 
my wound, then I knew no more. 



338 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 



CROSSING THE LINE. 

A confused report passed through my ears; 
But full of hurry, like a morning dream." 

HEN I recovered consciousness, I saw that the 
Confederates had advanced their line to the 
edge of the woods. The musketry had lost 
its intensity, but the air was filled with the 
groans of wounded and dying men. Disen- 
g a g m g myself from Captain Burch s corpse, 
I made an effort to regain my feet ; but was 
too weak from the loss of blood, so fell back 
to the earth with a sigh of disappointment. 

"I say, sergeant, this ere Yankee officer 
ain t dead, after all. Let s pick him up, and 
git to the r ar." 

As the man spoke, I felt myself lifted up ; and my bearers 
moved rapidly through the trees. I was a prisoner ! 

The men who carried me were tender in their handling, and 
I experienced but little pain. Then I saw that we were in a 
road; and by and by the men laid me down by the side of 
a creek, among a lot of their own wounded. 

"Why, it s Captain Wilmot ! " exclaimed a voice. 
Looking round, I saw the speaker was a sergeant belonging 
to the company next my own. 
u Are you wounded too ? " said I. 

" No, I didn t get hit ; but a good many of us were gobbled 
by a flanking-party," replied the sergeant. 




CROSSING THE LINE. 339 

"Is Major Harding a prisoner?" was my next question. 

" Oh, no ! He got off safe. But there s not more than a 
hundred of the regiment to answer roll-call. I say, captain, 
they re going to send the prisoners to the rear soon ; and I hear 
there s a Confederate hospital somewhere down the road. Shall 
we carry you there ? " and the sergeant bent over me anxiously, 
forgetting his own trouble for the moment. 

" I don t care : if you like," was my somewhat ungracious 
reply ; for I had lost all interest as to my fate. 

Sergeant Hughes said something to a Confederate officer near 
him, when the latter replied, 

" It s the best thing you can do for him : we have no 
surgeons here." 

In a few minutes every thing was ready for the prisoners to 
start ; when the sergeant and some more men belonging to my 
regiment lifted me in a blanket, and followed the rest. The 
easy motion of being carried soothed my pain; and, as my 
bearers were constantly changed by willing hands, our progress 
was rapid. I learned, as we went, that the hospital was at 
Locust Grove, a place I remembered having seen during the 
Mine-run movement. 

The sun was sinking behind the trees, near a cluster of negro- 
huts, when I was tenderly laid on the sward by the roadside. 
Looking up, I saw we had reached my destination. 

" Good-by, captain," said Sergeant Hughes, as he wrung 
my hand earnestly. Then the column of prisoners moved on 
down the road. I was alone. 

A curious crowd of men gathered round me ; and as I lay on 
the grass, making a sling for my arm which had been struck by 
a bullet, I gleaned from their talk that they belonged to Gen 
eral Swell s artillery reserve. Like us, the Confederates had 
found their cannon practically useless in these dense forests. 
Then the group suddenly separated as a mounted officer rode 
up : one of the men helped me to my feet at his command. 

" What part of your army do you belong to, sir ? " he asked. 



340 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



" The Fifth Corps," I replied. 

" Who commands it now ? " 

" General Warren." 

" How many men has he ? " was the next question. 

"Forty or fifty thousand," said I, purposely exaggerating 
the number. 

" Indeed ! so many as that ? How many, then, have you in 
the whole army ? " 



) -.- . , 


- ;>>. ."wwv ,i&VyU 




GENERAL LEE AND THE PRISONER. 

" Two or three hundred thousand," I replied with a laugh. 

"Now you are simply joking," said the stranger quietly. 
" Tell me, is it true that General Grant is in command of your 
forces?" 

u He is with the army, sir ; but we understand General Meade 
commands it." 

" That amounts to the same thing," remarked the officer in 
a musing tone. " But tell me, sir, how many men have you 
really, this side of the River Rapidan?" 

" Excuse me, sir," I replied : " I know I am a prisoner in your 



CROSSING THE LINE. 341 

hands, wounded and helpless ; but that fact gives you no right 
to question me as you are doing. I have already answered 
more of your questions than my duty to my flag permits. You 
can not expect me to give you any information regarding our 
army or its strength." 

" You are quite right, sir," replied the officer sadly. " I beg 
your pardon : good-night." 

As the speaker uttered the last words, he bowed gravely, and, 
putting spurs to his horse, was soon out of sight. 

" Who was that ? " I exclaimed, as the artillerists gathered 
about me once more. 

" General Robert E. Lee, who commands the Army of North 
ern Virginia," replied a fine-looking sergeant leaning against 
the trunk of the locust-tree behind me. 

General Lee ! the famous Confederate leader ! So I had 
really spoken to that brave and gallant soldier. 

The night was now falling fast, and I began to feel very stiff 
and cold. No one had, as yet, been near me to see if I needed 
surgical assistance. The artillery had meanwhile moved away 
with their guns, and there seemed to be no large bodies of 
troops near. Groans came to my ears ; but I heeded them not, 
my own trouble and pain making me selfish. Then I heard the 
sound of horses hoofs, and, rising on my elbows, saw a column 
of cavalry move slowly down the road until they were a few 
hundred yards away, when they passed off on a side-path 
towards the right of their line. They were evidently moving 
towards our left, in anticipation of the battle of the morrow. 
The force was a strong one, probably four thousand men ; and, 
as it passed, I noticed several leading riderless horses, showing 
that they had recently been in action. 

Though my disabled arm was quite troublesome, there was 
a sharper pain somewhere in mv thigh ; and I knew by it that I 
had there sustained the most serious wound. I noticed that 
one of the tassels of my silken sash was hanging by a few 
threads, and putting my hand down, found that the cloth of 



342 BULLET AND SHELL. 

my pantaloons was stiff with dried blood. I then essayed to 
rise, and succeeded in getting on my feet for a moment ; but I 
was still very weak, so was glad to lie down again. 

The night air grew colder and colder ; and I began to shiver 
and tremble, for I had no blanket. Seeing an open shed near 
by, I decided to try and reach it : I might get away from the 
wind that was rising. Unable to walk, I crawled slowly along 
on my hands and knees, and finally succeeded in reaching the* 
shed. As I crept over the ground, the odd notion came into 
my head that I must be cutting a funny figure; and I began 
laughing at the idea. In the shed I found eight or ten other 
wounded men, all Federals. 

"I wish we had a fire," remarked one of the men, as I 
crawled in among them. 

" Don t you wish you were safe at home with your mother? " 
replied another mockingly. 

" I ve some matches," said I. " Can we get any wood ? " 

" Yes, here s a lot of old barrels," said the first speaker. 

" Break up one of them, and we will soon have a fire ; " and, 
as I spoke, I struck a light. 

The order was promptly obeyed ; for the men saw my shoul 
der-strap in the blaze of my match, and the habit of discipline 
was still strong upon them. In a few moments the fire was 
lighted, and we all huddled round the cheerful blaze. No one 
seemed to be noticing us, and I began to think we had been 
forgotten or abandoned by our captors. The light of our fire 
attracted more wounded Federals, and they made a second one 
near by. Most of the men had their haversacks, and munched 
crackers contentedly as they reclined before the burning bar 
rels : but one poor fellow near me had no food ; and though his 
head was bloody, and his face matted with dirt, I could see he 
was hungrily watching those who were eating. Drawing three 
or four biscuits from my own haversack, I quietly put them 
into his hand. He took them greedily, apparently too hungry 
to think of thanking me. 



CEOS SING THE LINE. 343 

We were a rather grewsome lot of fellows ; for there was not 
a sound man among us, and our wounds were becoming stiff 
and sore. Opposite me sat a tall sergeant, the chevrons on his 
right sleeve being half ripped off by the bullet which had shat 
tered his arm. Beside him sat a stunted specimen of humanity, 
with an enormous beard spread all over his face, as if nature 
had sought to make him some recompense for his abbreviated 
stature; but though the beard ordinarily hid his face to the 
eyes, it was now parted on one cheek by a gleaming cicatrice, 
like the mark of a tornado I had once seen on the mountains 
near Aldie Gap. One had his temples bound up with a dirty 
handkerchief ; which did not prevent the blood trickling down 
his face to the corner of his mouth, from which he wiped it with 
his cuff the better to masticate his food. Another poor fellow 
had been wounded in both arms ; and it was painful to see him 
try to get a cracker to his mouth, only succeeding when a 
companion, noticing his plight, held it up for him to bite. 

I sat in this way for some time watching my neighbors, 
content to be awake arid enjoy the warmth of the fire ; but I 
felt lonely and sorrowful, for I missed the companionship of 
Dennis, of whose fate I was ignorant. I could only hope he 
had escaped to the rear of our lines without further wounds ; 
and, as I thought of the ample means provided by the Sanitary 
Commission for the care of our wounded, I envied the lot of 
those lucky enough to fall into its hands. The death of poor 
Ned Burch also depressed me, for I could not forget that his 
body was lying on the field unburied where he had fallen. I 
was stunned by the sudden reverse in my fortunes, for it 
seemed terrible that one short day could bring about such 
changes. Hitherto I had mostly seen the brighter aspect of 
military life : now I was to experience the darker and more 
painful side. 

The main body of the Confederate army was evidently 
changing front towards their right; for every few minutes a 
staff-officer or mounted orderly would go galloping past, 



344 BULLET AND SHELL. 

following the road the cavalry column had taken. Now and 
again a sullen volley of musketry, with the occasional shriek 
of a shell, came to my attentive ear from that direction. 

I had looked at my watch, and saw it was after nine o clock, 
when a cavalryman leaped off his horse and approached our fire. 

" Well, you-uns, we-uns hev licked you-uns agin," said he, 
rudely shoving his way among the men nearest him. 

" What do you mean ? " said I. 

" Why, the Yanks be all running away." 

" I don t believe it : if they were, you wouldn t be here," I 
replied. 

"Never mind him, captain: he only says that to annoy us," 
remarked the sergeant with the torn chevrons. 

" Waal, I s pose you won t b lieve me, but yer hull army 
hev gone cross the river," said the man as he lighted his corn 
cob pipe and stalked away to his horse. 

" Do you think our army has really retreated ? " said one of 
our men, after the Confederate had ridden away in the dark 
ness. 

" No," I replied ; " but the engagement has probably gone 
against us to-day." 

Early in the evening I had been informed by the artillery 
men, that they thought our army had fallen back ; but I did not 
believe it possible. Could it be that Grant had retired his 
right wing, and extended his line towards the left, in hopes of 
turning Lee s flank ? the ominous mutterings in that direction 
seemed to warrant such an idea. I tried to piece out the puz 
zle, but could not. One of the men sitting at our fire belonged 
to the Sixth Corps ; and he told us of their heavy losses, and 
several of the other men had seen two of the Fifth Corps 
brigadiers among the prisoners. We had therefore suffered 
very heavily all along the line, and my poor regiment was 
reduced to a mere fragment. If Sergeant Hughes was correct, 
fully three-fourths of the six hundred men who began that fatal 
charge were dead, wounded, or prisoners. 



CROSSING THE LINE. 345 

" I say, captain," said my hungry friend, " I ve got a blanket : 
suppose you and me turn in together." 

Accepting the offer with gladness, we rolled ourselves in the 
blanket, and, despite our hurts, were soon fast asleep. 

Soon after daylight we were roused by the provost-guard, 
who had at length come to look after us. As I sat up, and 
gave my name and rank to the sergeant, I could distinguish 
the sound of distant musketry, showing that fighting had again 
begun. Then the sullen boom of a field-piece, followed by 
heavier musketry, gave token that Grant was still at Lee s 
heels. 

As it was evident that we were all severely wounded, the 
provost-sergeant, himself a cripple from an old shell-wound, 
contented himself with taking our names, at the same time 
good-naturedly pointing out the location of a spring. A few 
who could walk volunteered to fill the canteens of those that 
were helpless; and George Michel, my bedfellow, shared my 
few remaining biscuits. 

Our scanty breakfast over, I stretched myself in the warm 
sunshine, and watched the progress of events. There were 
thirty or forty tents standing in the field ; while the wounded 
present, both Confederate and Federal, numbered probably 
three or four thousand. We Yankees (and I thought of Tom 
Marshall whenever the word was uttered) were given posses 
sion of all the sheds ; and we managed to make ourselves toler 
ably comfortable, there being a small quantity of straw. The 
ambulances, having been sent to the abandoned battle-field, 
brought back loads of knapsacks, blankets, and overcoats from 
our dead. The provost-sergeant brought me an entire kit, 
so I felt rich in my possessions. In the knapsack were a 
few letters written by a woman, from which I learned that a 
Confederate bullet had widowed the writer while she was yet 
a maid. Her photograph was tied up with the letters, all of 
which I put away to be returned if fate so willed. After 
bringing up the knapsacks, the ambulances proceeded to collect 



346 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



muskets and side-arms, and the guns were thrown in an indis 
criminate heap near our sheds. This part of the plunder had 
no interest for us, however ; though the time was to come when 
its presence could not be ignored. 

The musketry on the right of the Confederate lines grew 
louder and fiercer, as the hour of noon approached ; but I could 
learn nothing as to the scope of this new movement or its 
probable result, so lay listening to the repeated volleys, as 
they rose and fell in regular cadence, vaguely imagining the 




AMONG THE WOUNDED, CONFEDERATE HOSPITAL. 

scene of conflict in progress. Unlike the battle of the previous 
day, the cannonading was stronger and more continuous ; the 
rolling artillery-fire being at times monotonous in its intensity 
and vigor, showing that the struggle was a savage one, and 
hotly contested. It seemed curious to be so near a battle-field, 
yet unable to participate in it ; and the bitter thought was 
forced upon me that I was a helpless prisoner inside the Con 
federate lines. During the afternoon I began to feel very 
hungry, but learned, to my dismay, that there was no food, 
not even for the Confederate wounded : so Michel and I fasted. 



CROSSING THE LINE. 347 

The wound in my thigh pained me a good deal ; but the ball 
came out, and the bleeding ceased. As yet no one had at 
tempted to dress our wounds, the medical resources of the 
Confederates being remarkably slender. 

" How are you getting along, gentlemen ? " said the provost- 
sergeant politely, as he limped along the line of our sheds. 

" Pretty well," said one of the men. " But we are awfully 
hungry : can t you give us something to eat? " 

" We expect supplies to-night from Gordonsville," replied the 
sergeant. " You are not worse off than our own wounded." 

" How is the battle going, sergeant ? " I asked. 

" I dunno. We thought last night your army had gone back 
over the river, as the line in front of Germanna Ford was gone ; 
but it appears that they went off to the left of their line, and 
now General Lee is fighting Grant that Western general of 
yours at Spottsylvania." 

So this was the key to the situation. Grant intended to force 
his way towards Richmond, and, if baffled in driving Lee back 
by direct assault, would push out his left. 

No food coming that evening, we went to bed supperless ; 
and I slept a little, despite the soreness of my thigh. Many of 
the men near me were beginning to feel the severity of their 
hurts, and a good deal of groaning occurred through the night. 

We were not disturbed until long after the sun had risen, 
when word came that corn-meal and bacon would be served 
out. The ration turned out to be a very small one, judged by 
Federal standards ; but it was better than nothing. We made 
a thick gruel of the meal in our coffee-cups ; the bacon a mere 
slice serving as salt. But we missed our coffee, and I thought 
of Dennis and his culinary zeal with feelings of regret. 

All sounds of the contending armies had now died away : 
the air was undisturbed by musket or cannon. This silence, 
however, only lasted until about noon ; when it was broken by 
sounds of a furious battle, evidently near the scene of the 
previous day s engagement. It lasted until after sunset, when 



348 BULLET AND SHELL. 

the firing suddenly ceased ; arid after that we heard nothing 
from either army. We were forgotten. 

During the afternoon we were gladdened by the appearance 
of Surgeon Donovan of the Pennsylvania Reserves, he having 
voluntarily come through the lines under a flag of truce to look 
after us. The doctor was a character. Short in stature, his 
red hair cropped close to his head while his fiery beard was 
allowed to grow luxuriantly, he looked like any thing but a 
skillful surgeon. His uniform consisted of a velvet pea-jacket, 
and a pair of corduroy pantaloons which fitted tightly to his 
well-formed legs, and permitted his wearing a huge pair of tan- 
colored boots reaching to his waist. Making his rounds in a 
cheerful way that was very engaging, the doctor soon ascer 
tained our condition, and selected those who must undergo 
immediate amputation. To my unspeakable gratification, I 
learned that the wound in my thigh, though severe, was only 
in the flesh, the bones being uninjured. 

" Wash it well, and you will be all right in time," said the 
surgeon to me, as he passed on to the next man. 

The ambulance-trains were now removing the Confederate 
wounded to Gordonsville, and we received a better ration of 
meal and bacon. During the next four or five days, all of 
Lee s men had been carried away; and our men were given 
the tents, but a few of us clung to the huts. Several barrels 
of flour came : when some of our men pulled down an old 
chimney, and built a rude oven in the side of a bank; and 
another, who was a baker, made us some palatable bread. 
Death now appeared in our midst, and a little graveyard was 
begun on a hill behind the dilapidated tavern. The saw and 
the knife were busy, and Surgeon Donovan s arms were for 
hours bathed in blood. Then came a new horror ; for the wind, 
changing, brought with it the terrible odor of putrefying flesh 
from the battle-field, where we knew thousands of our dead 
comrades were still unburied. 

That night, while Michel and I were lying with our com- 



CROSSING THE LINE. 349 

pardons in the shed, the pile of muskets caught fire in some 
mysterious way ; and a scattering, indiscriminate volley began, 
as the guns became heated, and discharged their contents. 
Expecting to be hit every moment, for the bullets were flying 
in every conceivable direction, yet afraid to move away lest we 
fall into greater danger, we cowered beneath our blankets until 
the woodwork on the weapons had been consumed. A man 
lying near me was killed outright by one of these stray balls, 
and I heard the next day that two or three others had received 
fresh wounds. The pile of muskets were, however, useless to 
the enemy : so we took some comfort in that. 

Thus the time passed for three long weeks. The graveyard 
grew in size ; and the men around me were weaker, owing to 
the scarcity of succulent food and the lack of stimulants. 
Doctor Donovan labored manfully, and won our love and 
admiration by his tenderness and devotion. 

We heard that our army had pushed on towards Richmond, 
though our guards were very reticent regarding the results or 
progress of the campaign. I inferred from this that the Con 
federates were losing ground ; but I soon ceased to take any 
interest in the movements of Grant or Lee, my whole mind 
being fixed on plans for escaping. One day poor Michel, who 
I had ascertained was a Canadian, grew worse ; and it was 
evident that death was near him. 

u Oh, my God! Am I going to die?" he exclaimed in a 
voice of terror. 

" I hope not, George," said I. " But you are very weak." 

" Oh, don t let me die ! I ve got a mother who s waiting for 
me. My mother ! shall I never see you again ? " 

"Come, come, my man," said Surgeon Donovan. "Don t 
go on in that way. We can not save you, but don t grieve 
so." 

"But I won t die," cried Michel: "I want to live. My 
mother wants me. My God ! what will she do without me ? 
I must go over the river to meet her." 



350 BULLET AND SHELL. 

"Poor fellow! he s going over the river, sure enough," said 
the surgeon pityingly. 

Michel lay quiet for a moment: then his throat began to 
rattle, and with a sudden spasm all was over. 

The death of my quondam comrade affected me greatly ; and 
I limped out of the shed, anxious only to get away from the 
dead. I had not gone many steps when I was confronted by a 
tall Confederate officer. On my looking up our eyes met, and 
once more Tom Marshall and I stood before each other. 



THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED. 



351 



CHAPTER XXIX. 



THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED. 

I would bring balm, and pour it in your wound, 
Cure your distempered mind, and heal your fortunes." 

KNEW you were here, Frank," said Tom 
quietly as we shook hands. "I saw your 
name on the hospital-register, so was looking 
for you." 

"Yes, Tom, I m here safe enough. The 
tables are turned now. I am the prisoner, not 
you," I replied sadly. 

" By heavens ! you won t be a prisoner long, 
if I can help it," exclaimed Tom. 

" But you can not help it," said I some 
what bitterly. " We are not on the picket- 
line in the darkness now." 

" Frank Wilmot ! I owe you a debt of gratitude, and I m 
going to pay it," cried Tom in an impetuous way that reminded 
me of our college days. 

" I don t doubt your willingness to cancel the obligation, but 
how can you do it? " 

" You shall see," he replied confidently. 

" How came you in this out-of-the-way place ? " said I as we 
sat down together under one of the locust-trees that fringed 
the main road. " Why are you away from the army ? " 

"I ve been over in our valley," responded Tom. "I don t 
mind telling you, Frank, that we are hard pressed for men just 
now. Grant, that new general of yours, fights like a bulldog. 




352 BULLET AND SHELL. 

He never lets go his hold. So I was sent to the Valley to order 
back some reinforcements, and am now returning to Richmond. 
Sutherland, the hospital-steward here, belongs in the Valley 
too : so I have stopped over for the night. He showed me the 
list of prisoners just now, and your name was almost the first 
one I read." 

" Are they all well at the homestead ? " I asked. 

Tom s face changed for a moment, and he dug the grass with 
his spurs as if my question had caused him pain. 

" Mother is dead," he said at last, in a low voice. " We lost 
her last winter." 

I clasped Tom s hand in silence ; and, as our fingers tightened, 
the old bond of friendship was strengthened. 

" Yes, mother died just before Christmas," continued Tom, 
when he had recovered from his emotion. " You know she was 
never very strong, and this cruel war tried her sorely. Con 
stantly changing in military ownership, the Valley has been by 
no means a peaceful spot ; and poor mother felt the strain very 
much. When winter began to set in, she just pined away and 
left us." 

" And your sister ? " said I. 

" Oh ! Kate is all right, though not the saucy, wayward girl 
as you no doubt remember her. She seldom smiles now. Ah, 
Frank ! this war has borne heavily on the women of the South ; " 
and Tom shook his head sadly as he spoke. 

" The women on both sides have suffered greatly," I replied : 
"the struggle has been so bitter. But I can readily believe 
that the Southern women have had the hardest trials." 

" But now about your escape. I must manage it somehow," 
said Tom, changing the subject, at the same time looking about 
him to see that we were out of hearing. 

" I can not see how it is to be done," said I. " Your men 
here on guard tell me that the Rapidan is carefully watched by 
your cavalry, and that they hold all the fords." 

Tom laughed loudly, evidently amused at my words. 



THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED. 353 

" Bless your heart, boy ! Do you imagine we could spare as 
many men as that would imply ? Of course there are a few 
cavalry scouts along the river, but there are plenty of fords 
where you could cross unseen." 

"I am glad to hear you say so," said I; "for I am still too 
weak for a swim. Had I known the true state of affairs, I 
would have attempted an escape long before this. But it is 
too late now. They talk of sending us farther South in a few 
days." 

" You will not go a mile farther South than you are at pres 
ent, if I can do any thing to prevent it," cried Tom passionately. 
" Why, Frank, Kate would never forgive me if I permitted 
you to remain a prisoner, after the service you rendered me at 
Gettysburg." 

"Does she know?" 

" To be sure she does. You don t suppose I would keep that 
event a secret from those at home ? " 

* What rank do you hold now ? " said I, turning over his 
embroidered sleeve to change the conversation. "I never 
could make out your Confederate insignia." 

"I am a lieutenant-colonel now," replied Tom rather proudly. 
" If this war lasts much longer, I may yet be a general : who 
knows?" 

" And I m only a captain." 

" Promotion comes more quickly with us," said he. " Why, 
my regiment has lost three colonels this campaign. But that 
has nothing to do with your escape. You must start this very 
night, so we have no time to lose." 

Tom Marshall had evidently learned one thing by his army 
experience, the necessity of decisive action. Rapidly and 
clearly he began sketching out a plan of operations. Suther 
land, the steward, would furnish a pass, he having in his pos 
session a few signed in blank by General Ewell ; and Tom would 
get him to promise not to report my disappearance until two or 
three days had elapsed. Tom also announced that he had pro- 



354 BULLET AND SHELL. 

cured a spare uniform which would serve as a disguise ; for, after 
crossing the Rapidan, I was to proceed along the foot of the 
mountains, in the character of a wounded Confederate soldier 
going home on furlough. This would enable me to pass un 
hindered, and be a claim for assistance ; all of the people in that 
section being naturally in warm sympathy with the Southern 
cause. Tom laughingly assigned me to his own regiment, the 
Third Virginia ; and wrote down the names of the officers, as 
well as a few enlisted men, with some other pertinent details, 
for me to learn, and repeat in case I was troubled with curious 
questions. He also gave me some Confederate money, and 
mapped out my route as far as Warrenton. 

" When you get that far," said he, " you know the country 
as well as I do ; and can then make your way to Centerville by 
the Aldie road. But I must go and see Sutherland now. We 
have no time to lose, as every thing must be in readiness by 
dusk." 

u Are you sure of Sutherland s co-operation ? " 

" Quite certain. He already understands my plans, and fully 
enters into them. 

I remained seated at the foot of the tree, after Tom had left 
me ; feeling rejoiced at the prospect of escaping a prison, and 
reflecting on the many ties that were binding Tom and me 
together. The glimpse I gained of Kate s sentiments towards 
me, from Tom s words, brought a sense of exquisite pleasure to 
my heart ; and I was indeed very happy. Hearing a step behind 
me, I turned, and saw the tremendous boots of our surgeon 
approaching. 

What are you dreaming about, Wilmot?" said he. " You 
seem to be basking in the sun like a cat." 

" I was thinking of home, doctor," I replied. 

"I m sorry to disturb such thoughts, but I ve come to tell you 
that the ambulances will be here before morning. To-morrow 
all but the amputation cases are to go South." 

" Doctor, can you keep a secret ? " I asked. 



THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED. 355 

" If it s worth keeping," he replied. 

" Then you need not be astonished if I am missing to-morrow." 

The surgeon gave a low whistle of surprise. 

"I m mighty glad of it," said he. " But I m afraid you won t 
be able to cross the fords : you know they are all guarded." 

"Never fear, I ll get through," said I. " Just forget to report 
my absence, for I want to get a good start." 

" Report you ? Do you think I d bother myself about that ? 
Why, if half the men ran away, I d pretend not to notice their 
absence ! Report you, indeed ! " he repeated, his face as red as 
his beard with indignation. 

" All right, doctor : then I m safe." 

" But do you expect that the Confederates won t miss you ? 
They re sure to do so." 

" Oh ! I ve got friends, and have no fears on that score," I 
replied. 

" Ah, ha ! that s the way the land lies, does it ? Then I tell 
you what : when you get to Washington, let them know I m 
here with the boys. Maybe they will send out after us. I wish 
you luck, Wilmot, with all my soul ; " and the surgeon, after 
warmly shaking my hand, stumped away in his preposterous 
boots to arrange for poor Michel s burial. 

The hospital-steward entered heartily into Tom s scheme, 
though he was prudent enough to keep away from me. In 
deed, even Tom and I did not meet again until after nightfall, 
our rendezvous being the locust-tree. 

" Come ! " said he in a whisper, as soon as I appeared. 

Keeping Tom in sight, I followed him down a side-road that 
ran to the rear of the tavern, and entered the woods a few 
hundred yards beyond. Once in the shadow of the trees, Tom 
slackened his pace, and waited for me to come up. 

" Here are your things," said he, thrusting a bundle into my 
hands. "Dress as quickly as you can." 

Hastily donning the Confederate uniform, Tom and I then 
walked on through the forest in silence. At length we entered 



356 BULLET AND SHELL. 

a road, and soon after came to a low wooden bridge over a small 
brook, where Tom halted. 

" Well, Frank, we must say good-by once more. Here is a 
haversack and a loaf of your bread ; " and, as he spoke, Tom 
stooped down under the bridge, and produced the haversack, 
evidently left there by preconcerted arrangement. 

" Good-by, Tom ! " I exclaimed. " I hope that when we meet 
again it will not be to part." 

" I echo that hope with all my heart," replied Tom. " But 
you must not linger here, Frank ; for by daylight you should be 
miles away on the other side the river." 

I held out my hand, and felt Tom s strong grasp in mine ; 
then with a full heart I broke away, and started on my lonely, 
dangerous journey. 

Tom had thought it would be best for me to cross the Rapidan 
just above Germanna Ford ; so I followed the road we were on, 
as he said it led direct to the river. The moon was beginning 
to show herself above the tops of the trees by the time I had 
gone a mile, and I had plenty of light on my path. But my 
progress was somewhat slow ; for, though my wound was rapidly 
healing, I was still quite lame. I struggled manfully, however, 
for every step I took brought me nearer to liberty. 

About midnight I began to see signs of the battle-field. A 
broken wagon lying on one side of the road was the first thing 
that attracted my attention ; and then the indications multi 
plied, until at length I came to the Confederate breastworks. 
The road I was on had evidently been the one used by Ewell 
when he advanced to meet Sedgwick and Warren. The moon 
had now risen almost to the zenith, and the ground lay bathed 
in light. Going on a little farther, I discovered a path leading 
towards my right ; and, knowing that the field over which my 
regiment had charged could not be far distant, I determined to 
visit it. 

Following the narrow path for a short distance, I encountered 
more breastworks, and soon after saw an opening in the woods. 



THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED. 



357 



It was our field. Clambering over the rude bank of logs and 
earth that had formed the defensive line of our antagonists, I 
found myself at last on the well-remembered ground. But 
what a sight met my eye ! In the bright moonlight lay nearly 
two hundred bodies of my comrades, their picturesque zouave 
uniforms now blackened by contact with corruption. In rows 
and in groups, just as they had fallen on that fatal day, these 
unburied corpses had become wind and sun dried skeletons. 




REVISITING THE WILDERNESS BATTLE-FIELD. 

The faces that were upturned to the silvery rays of the moon 
had lost all semblance to humanity, and were now simply 
hideous masks, the eyeless sockets of which seemed to mock 
me as I stood among them. But I was not alone ; for at my 
feet writhed countless swarms of the repulsive Virginia tumble- 
bugs, all struggling for a share in the awful banquet the god 
of war had provided for them. 

Horror-stricken and heart-sick, I gazed over the field and 
along the line we had held, seeing bodies in every direction 
and in every possible attitude. Here one poor fellow had 



358 BULLET AND SHELL. 

crawled to the foot of a tree, and died as he sat. His fez was 
still on his head, the gibbering skull beneath it seeming to laugh 
at me, as the jaws had relaxed and fallen apart. On the sleeves 
were the chevrons of a sergeant. Beyond were the bodies of 
five or six men lying one over the other ; but now they seemed 
like a design on a carpet, having become flattened to one level. 
Near these was the body of a man lying apart from his fellows. 
Falling on his back, the dead man had flung his arms far apart, 
and one leg was drawn up as if in agony. Now the hands were 
bare of flesh, and peeped hideously out of the sleeves ; while 
the elevated knee had become shrunken, a wide rent in the 
cloth permitting the skin-covered bone to protrude. Every 
where about me, these ghastly specters met my gaze. A few 
feet from where I stood, lay the body of an officer ; and, on 
going towards it, I saw a captain s strap on the shoulder. It 
was poor Ned Burch, no doubt ; for I recognized the tree near 
by as the one we were standing under when he died. Here 
was where I had fallen ; and by what a narrow chance it was, 
that my body was not lying there, slowly moldering on the 
surface of the earth ! 

" And this is the glory of war that poets rave about ! " I 
exclaimed. u Where are its pomp and circumstance now?" 

An owl began hooting dismally over my head, as though 
answering my words. I listened to the night-bird s hoarse, 
unearthly cry for a moment, then, turning away, staggered 
back to the path. 

Entering the wagon-road again, I kept on towards the river, 
seeing more of the unburied Federal dead, where Sedgwick 
had led his men, until at last I reached the ford. It wanted 
scarcely two hours of daylight; and, as I knew I must be 
across and away before that, I boldly waded into the stream, 
finding it quite shallow. Clambering painfully up the oppo 
site bank, I struck into a deer-path in the woods for a few 
minutes, and then plunged into the depths of the forest. I 
had crossed the river unseen, unchallenged : now for rest and 



THE ACCOUNTS BALANCED. 859 

sleep. My arm was almost sound again ; my leg, though still 
painful, was fairly fit for use, weak as it was. My camping- 
ground was formed in a hollow caused by the upheaval of a 
tree by some storm ; and, after gathering a bed of withered 
leaves, I flung myself on the ground, and dreamed of my 
mother and my home. 



360 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXX. 

RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. 

Herein Fortune shows herself more kind 
Than is her custom." 

IX days after my crossing the River Rapidan, 
I drew near the pretty little town of War- 
renton, where two summers before I had 
joined my regiment from the hospital, rejoi 
cing in promotion and the right to wear and 
wield a sword. Full of ardor and pride in 
my new rank, when last I had entered the 
town I gloried in all the martial signs and 
symbols visible everywhere about me. Then 
I was going to meet my comrades, and the 
army in all its glory and strength lay before 
me. Now how changed was the scene, how 
different my circumstances ! Wounded and sore, alone and in 
disguise, I was in constant danger. Weary with pain, for 
the wound in my thigh had re-opened under the strain lately 
put upon it, I dreaded discovery, and started at every sound. 
The cracking of a twig in the forest, or the sudden dart of a 
frightened squirrel on the roadside, startled me ; and I grew 
sick with fear at every turn in my path. My dear old regi 
ment was far away, bravely fighting ; the bones of my grum 
bling friend were bleaching in the dense thickets of the 
Wilderness, and I was ignorant of Dennis s fate. 

Fortune had indeed changed with me, and I was tasting of 
the bitterness of war. 




RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. 361 

Thanks to Tom Marshall s careful instructions, I had found 
it tolerable easy to maintain my assumed character of a Con 
federate soldier. Avoiding the town of Culpepper by a circui 
tous route, I crossed the plains of Brandy without hinderance, 
and forded the Robertson and Rappahannock rivers, a few 
miles above their junction at Beverly Dam. So far my journey 
had been an uneventful one, for by leaving the main roads I 
had escaped the attention of the patrols still kept moving by 
the enemy in that neighborhood. My disguise proved suffi 
ciently perfect to deceive the lonely women I found in the 
houses on my route, but I knew that at Warrenton I ran great 
risk of being detected. The danger must be faced, however : 
so I nerved myself for the trial. 

Musing thus, I saw the roofs and steeples of Warrenton near 
at hand, and in an hour s time I was in its streets ; finding them, 
as I expected, entirely deserted by either army. Boldly march 
ing on, I made my way to the tavern not far from the rail 
road-depot, finding four or five men lounging on the veranda. 

" Good-evening, gentlemen," said I, coolly ascending the 
rickety wooden steps. " It s very hot to-day." 

" Not too hot for June," replied one of the group, an elderly 
man, the others gazing curiously at me in silence. " But who 
be you?" 

" A poor devil who got hit over by the Rapidan, when we 
licked the Yanks in the Wilderness," I replied. 

" That war over a month ago. Whar hev you bin sence ? " 
asked the old man suspiciously. 

" In hospital, to be sure, down by the river. I left thar a 
week ago." 

" It must hev bin a tough march," remarked my interlocu 
tor. 

" I m pretty good on the tramp, sir," said I. " Though I ve 
only a leg and a half left, as you might say." 

" Bin wounded, eh? Whar bout? " 

" In the thigh : the bullet went cl -ar through," I replied, 



362 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



beginning to feel annoyed at the old man s questioning. But 
he had not yet done with me. 

" An whar bout might the battle hev bin ? " 

" Down in the Wilderness, near Locust Grove, t other side 
the Rapidan," I answered, imitating his drawl to the best of 
my ability. 

"That was a right smart fight, I ve hearn," he continued. 




AT THE WARKENTON HOTEL. 



"Deed it was; one of the hottest I ve ever bin in," said 
I, amused by the conversation. 

So I ve hearn ! What moivt yer name be, mister ? " and the 
inquisitive old fellow eyed me suspiciously as he deliberately 
knocked the ashes out of his home-made pipe on the veranda 
railing. 

" Sconnes, sir ; George Sconnes," said I, using the name Tom 
had bestowed on me when we parted. " I b long to the Third 
Virginny." 

At this moment a young man rode up, a carbine being slung 



RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. 363 

at his saddle-bow. Quickly dismounting, he fastened his horse 
to the hitching-post, and approached the veranda. 

" Why, thar s my Martin ! " exclaimed my troublesome old 
friend. " Sa-ay, Martin, here s one of yer comrades, I reckon. 
He s one of the Third Virginny. Bin wounded, too, in the big 
fight on the Rapidan." 

The new-comer eyed me even more suspiciously than his 
father had done. 

"What rigiment did yer say?" he asked in a somewhat 
surly tone of voice. 

" Third Virginny, sir, as this gentleman has told you. What s 
yours?" 

"Don t b long to no rigiment," he replied with a queer laugh, 
in which all the others joined. 

" Oh ! wun of them home-guards I ve hearn tell of," I 
drawled ; getting out of temper, for the fellow s manner galled 
me. 

" No, I m no home-guard. I m as good as you, tho I don t 
b long to no rigiment. I ve fou t for the cause same as you 
fellows that wears the uniform. Did yer never hear of Colonel 
Mosby?" and the young fellow laughed mischievously. 

" Mosby ! Are you one of his men ? That must be dan 
gerous kind of work." 

" Yes, it s sorter dangerous," he replied, evidently mollified 
by my implied compliment. " We runs more risks than you 
fellows in the army, but we ve more fun." 

"I say, mister," exclaimed another of the men, "I ve my 
spicions along of yer. I sort o s pect yer isn t no Southerner. 
I don t b lieve yer b long to our side at all." 

"Indeed! and what do yer take me to be? Not a Yank?" 
said I in as bold a tone as I could muster, though my heart was 
thumping at the danger I was facing. 

" Yes, a Yank, an nothin else." 

" I m a Varginian, sir," I replied : " why shouldn t you 
b lieve me?" 



364 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Cause yer don t look like one, and yer don t talk like one 
nuther." 

" Say, mister," interrupted the old man, " part of that thar 
rigiment, the Third Virginny, war raised right bout yeah. Who 
do you know among em ? " 

Now was the crucial test. Could I pass through it success 
fully? 

" Who do I know ? Waal, I don t know the hull rigiment 
no better than you do ; but our present colonel is Hector 
Randolph, who lives in the London over thar; and thar s 
Major Crawford, who " 

" He s all right : young Henry Crawford was born and raised 
right yeah in Warrenton," exclaimed the old man : " wasn t 
he, Martin?" 

" Yes, I spose so," replied the son. " But yer said he was 
yer major : since when ? " 

" Why, he got it over in Richmond, since the battle of the 
North Anna. Him and young Tom Marshall got promoted 
together. Now look yeah, gentlemen, I ve stood this yeah kat- 
akisin bout long enough. If yer don t b lieve me, why don t 
yer arrest me?" and I frowned and struck the railing with 
my fist in affected indignation. 

" Now, don t yer be gitting mad, comrade," said .the young 
bushwhacker. " Thar s my hand : sorry to have doubted yer, 
but s best to be keerful these yeah war times." 

"That s all right," said I, taking the proffered hand. "I 
don t object to be questioned ; but it s being taken for a Yank, 
after having one of thar plaguy bullets punch a hole in yer, 
that made me angry." 

" Whar bouts du yer b long ? " asked one of the men, who 
had hitherto been a silent spectator to the colloquy. 

" Over to Martinsburg." 

" Yer hev a long journey before yer," remarked the old man. 
" How are yer to git over the mountains with that thar leg ? 
Yer ain t scurcely able to walk, let alone climb." 



RUNNING THE GAUNTLET. 365 

" Oh ! I ll manage somehow. If I can get a bed to-night, 
I ll start in the morning for Aldie, and go through the Gap. I 
ought to git thar in two days." 

" Don t yer go near Aldie, if yer don t want to be gobbled 
by the Yanks," exclaimed the guerrilla : " they be in toler ble 
strong force thar jist now." 

This was good news, for if I could only get near our lines I 
was safe. 

" Sorry to hear it," I replied ; " for it s an easier road to travel 
than thro old Thoroughfare." 

"Tell yer what, ole man," said Martin : "we ll give him sup 
per and a bed, and in the mornin yer hitch up the ole mar , and 
take him over the mountains." 

" That s a good idee of yourn, Martin. We re bound to help 
those who hev fou t for the cause." 

" No, no," I said hurriedly, for it was no part of my plan to 
be carried over the mountains: "I am much obliged to you, sir. 
I can t put you to so much trouble." 

" Tain t any trouble. I m out of meal, and mou t as well go 
for it to-morrer as next day." 

The old man rose as he spoke, and descended from the 
veranda. I saw that I must submit to the proposition, else I 
might again arouse suspicions already so fortunately allayed. 
Having given Martinsburg as my destination, I did not dare 
object, though the hospitable offer sadly upset all my plans. I 
might, however, make my way down the London Valley, and so 
reach the River Potomac. There was no use fretting : I must 
follow the path Dame Fortune selected for me. 



366 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXXI. 



TO THE RESCUE. 

"In this 
You satisfy your anger and revenge." 

URING our early breakfast the next morning, 
I learned that young Martin Farquhar had 
decided to take his father s place in our pro 
posed jaunt over the mountains; he having 
received instructions during the night to com 
municate certain orders to the men belonging 
to Mosby s command who lived in the Loudon 
Valley. As it was a matter of indifference to 
me which of them went, I acquiesced, though 
I felt chagrined at being thus carried so far 
out of my way. Bidding old Mr. Farquhar 
a cordial good-by, and making the absurd 
promise to call when I rejoined Lee s army, I clambered into 
the dilapidated old chaise ; and we were soon on the road 
through the Gaps. 

It was late in the afternoon when we descended into the 
valley of the Loudon, young Farquhar to my dismay driving 
straight across. It was nightfall when he halted at a house, 
where we learned that the Federals were in force at Harper s 
Ferry and Charlestown. As my bushwhacking friend had 
defeated my purpose of passing down the valley, I was com 
pelled to remain with his entertainers over night ; Martin 
carrying me in the buggy as far as the foot of the hills, soon 
after sunrise the following morning. 




TO THE RESCUE. 367 

"I m much obliged to you, sir," said I, "for your kindness. 
Some day I hope to be able to pay the debt." 

"Look heah !" cried Martin indignantly, "yer b long to the 
ole Third Virginny, and thar s no debt bout it." 

I shook the young man s hand in silence, for I felt ashamed 
of having profited by his loyalty to his side of the great national 
quarrel. Leaving him to go his rounds, I trudged painfully 
through the Gap. 

It was with strange emotions that I passed over the road I 
had traveled four years before. Then I was in a land of peace 
and plenty, and my footsteps were free to go where I listed : 
now war, with its angry front, had ravaged the land, and 
armed hosts were seeking to destroy each other. Then I was 
leaving the valley a happy boy : now I was returning to the 
scene bronzed, disguised, and facing hidden dangers. 

Coming at length to the ledge where I had taken my fare 
well view of the smiling, peaceful valley, on that never-to-be- 
forgotten summer s morning, I stood and gazed once more at 
the picture, fairly amazed at the change that had come over 
the landscape. 

Though many of the fields stretched at my feet were full of 
ripening wheat, the valley no longer wore that air of busy 
industry as when last I saw it. Now all was hushed and silent. 
Here and there I could detect wide gaps in the stone fences, 
and long lines of trenches, showing where the opposing armies 
had struggled against each other for the mastery. Even the 
frequent bits of woodland had been touched by the withering 
hand of war ; for broad swaths of trees had been cut for abatis 
and defense, their lifeless trunks and branches glistening in the 
hot June sunshine in vivid contrast with the surrounding foli 
age. To the right a blackened patch lay like a blot on the 
landscape, the outlines telling of a home destroyed for ever. 
Sitting on the ledge, and noting all these changes, my eyes 
strayed at length to the familiar clump of walnut-trees, under 
the shade of which I had passed so many careless, happy hours 



368 BULLET AND SHELL. 

with Tom and Kate. The Marshall homestead was but little 
changed ; though there was an air of neglect about the place, 
which, even at that distance, struck me painfully. A few of the 
negro-huts in the hollow only remained, and the neat palings 
near the house were thrown down or broken. In the roof 
of the old mansion I could discern an ugly rent, the misshapen 
outlines of which revealed the path of a shell. Like the rest 
of the blighted valley, every thing about the house seemed 
silent and deserted ; and I wondered if it were indeed empty. 
Thus gazing and musing, a sudden impulse seized me to visit 
the house ; though it had been my intention to keep to the 
river-bank, and endeavor to reach Harper s Ferry. 

The sun had set when I crossed the bridge where Tom and I 
had parted ; for my pace was slow and painful, and the night 
had fallen as I entered the lawn. On approaching the house, I 
noticed a horse, ready saddled, and tethered to the railing of 
the veranda. In the old days a horse would not have been per 
mitted on the lawn, and my finding one there was another 
evidence of the change that had come over the valley. Though 
in disguise as a Confederate soldier, I knew the need of cau 
tion : so stealing up the steps, I peeped through a lighted win 
dow. 

In the room stood Kate Marshall, her face towards me. But 
how changed was the girl ! Though still beautiful, the faded 
dress of mourning and her pale cheeks told of sorrow. Just 
then the figure of a man came between us. He turned ; and, 
to my amazement, I saw the face of Ned Charlton. 

" What is he doing here ? Does the girl really love the 
fellow?" With these unuttered words on my tongue, I leaned 
against the sash, and listened. 

" Come, come ! Kate Marshall, don t be a fool," exclaimed 
Charlton. " You know how I love you." 

" I care not. When you first told me of it, I rejected you 
gently, as a woman should. But now you persecute me," was 
her reply. 



TO THE RESCUE. 369 

" Persecute you, Miss Marshall ! I m a gentleman," said 
Charlton in his lofty manner. 

" Gentleman ! You are a pretty gentleman ! to steal into my 
house during my father s absence, because you know you dare 
not do it in his presence. A fine gentleman ! Sir, you insult 
the word in using it." 

" We lose time, Miss Kate. I offer you my love, my honest 
love." 

" Your love is not honest, Ned Charlton, and you are not an 
honest man," replied Kate with flashing eyes. 

" By heaven, girl ! what do you mean ? " 

" Just what I say, sir. You pretend to be a defender of our 
cause ; but I believe you to be, at heart, a miserable traitor." 

"Do you? Look you now, my proud beauty, take care 
how you badger me ! " cried Charlton, his dark face distorted 
with rage. 

" Oh ! I am not afraid of you, Mr. Charlton. You dare not 
harm me." 

" Dare not ? By heaven ! you tempt me to show you my 
power." 

"Your power? what could you do?" asked the girl in a 
curious tone. 

" Do ? Why, as you have said, you are all alone here : 
there s not a nigger on the plantation. Ah ! you see, I know 
all. If you don t change your tune, my pretty one, I ll clap 
you on my saddle, and carry you to the mountains. Once 
there, you will be glad enough to be my wife." 

" Cowardly miscreant ! my brother shall pay you dearly for 
these threats, this insult," exclaimed Kate passionately. 

" The devil take your brother ! Come, we ll have no more 
of this. To the mountains you go this very night." 

As he uttered the words, the scoundrel advanced to seize the 
shrinking girl. Before he could do so, I had dashed through 
the window, and, with a chair, stretched him senseless at her 
feet. 



370 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Frank ! " exclaimed Kate, springing into my arms, " thank 
God ! I m safe." 

44 Yes," I replied tenderly, " safe enough, I trust." 

u But, Frank, how came you here ? and in that dress ? That 
is not a Yankee uniform." 

" No. Tom lent it to me to escape with." 

" Escape ? then you were a prisoner? " 

" Yes ; but never mind that now, Kate. Thank Heaven ! 
chance brought me here to save you from that villain." 

" I say, good people, perhaps you will explain the meaning 
of all this," cried a voice at my elbow. 

Startled at the unexpected interruption, Kate and I turned, 
only to find that the speaker was Mr. Marshall. 

" Frank Wilraot ! " he exclaimed, surprised in his turn, " and 
in Confederate uniform ! What does this mean ? " 

" Yes, sir ; Frank Wilmot," I replied, " and in disguise. I 
was a prisoner, and your son helped me to escape. I shall be 
quite safe before morning." 

" O father ! " said Kate, " Frank has saved me from a dread 
ful fate." 

" What on earth do you mean, girl ? " 

" She means, that, finding her in the power of a villain, I nat 
urally came to her rescue. There he lies," said I, pointing to 
the floor where Charlton had fallen. 

" Why, he s gone ! " exclaimed Kate. 

It was indeed true. There were no traces of the fellow: 
he had escaped. 

" Come, no more of this mystery," exclaimed the old gentle 
man impatiently. " What has happened ? Who is a villain ? 
Who has disappeared ? " 

As briefly as possible I related what had occurred. At the 
mention of Charlton s name, Mr. Marshall s face darkened with 
passion. 

" Ned Charlton ? He dare to do this ! He shall pay dearly 
for this outrage ! Mr. Wilmot, how shall I thank you ? " 



TO THE RESCUE. 371 

" Indeed, sir, I ask no thanks for what I did." 

" You no doubt consider my daughter s thanks quite suffi 
cient," remarked the old gentleman significantly. "But de 
pend upon it, Frank, that scoundrel Charlton means to do 
you some mischief. As I rode up to the house I heard some 
one ride away towards the huts: it must have been he. He 
has no doubt recognized you ; and, if you are captured in that 
Confederate uniform, you will be hanged as a spy. You must 
leave this house at once. There is no time to be lost." 

" Yes, Frank, father is right. You must go before it is too 
late," said Kate. 

" Perhaps so," was my reply ; " but it seems cowardly to 
leave in this way." 

" But you are in danger. It is not cowardly to avoid it," 
pleaded Kate. 

" There is short shrift accorded spies in this valley," said Mr. 
Marshall ; " and you would be denounced as such by Charlton. 
Have you any arms, Mr. Wilmot?" 

" None. If I only had a revolver now ! " 

" Take mine, and there s my horse at the door." 

" No, no ! to take your horse would only place you under 
suspicion. Besides, I shall be best on foot, for Charlton is too 
fond of horse-flesh to trust himself out of the saddle." 

As I spoke, I took the revolver, and thrust it into my bosom. 

" Hark ! I heard horses," exclaimed Kate. " They are com 
ing in search of you, Frank." 

" You re right, my girl," said her father, going to the window. 
" There s a troop of horsemen in the road. Kate, take Mr. 
Wilmot through the house and down past the barn. You 
know the path, Frank. Come, you have no time to lose." 

The galloping of several horses now sounded in our ears, and 
I did not need any urging to accompany Kate. To stay was to 
brave death: to escape would balk Charlton of his contem 
plated revenge. Kate and I rapidly crossed the open ground 
in rear of the house until we came to a path. Here we paused. 



372 BULLET AND SHELL. 

The horsemen came thundering along the road, and over the 
lawn, up to the very door of the house ; and I could hear con 
fused voices in angry altercation. It was quite evident that 
Charlton had returned. Should I slip away like a thief, and 
leave this brave girl unprotected, and exposed to the insults of 
a scoundrel like him? The idea seemed detestable. Giving 
expression to these feelings in words, Kate interrupted me : 

" Have no fear for me. My father is too well known in the 
valley for Charlton to attempt us any harm. But you we can 
not save. As my father says, the uniform you wear would be 
your death-warrant. Go now, and may God bless and pro 
tect you ! " 

She was right. I must go. Taking her in my arms for a 
moment, I tore myself away, and, with her kiss on my lips, 
plunged down the narrow path in the darkness. 



IN FRESH TOILS. 



373 



CHAPTER XXXII. 

IN FKESH TOILS. 

"You make me strange 
Even to the disposition that I owe." 

HE distance to the river was so short that I 
soon reached the bank, and entered the path 
used by field-hands when peace reigned in the 
valley. I knew that if I met with no hinder- 
ance I could reach the Federal picket-lines 
by daylight ; plodding on to the best of my 
ability, for I remembered enough of the topog- 
raphy of that part of the valley to know that 
if our forces were in possession of Charles- 
town I should find their pickets along the line 
of Opequan Creek, some miles this side oi 
Harper s Ferry. In the excitement induced 
by my discovery of Kate s danger, I had forgotten the pain of 
my wound, nor did I feel it for over an hour after parting from 
her. But at length my poor thigh grew restive, the pain in 
creased, and I felt the blood running down my leg into the shoe : 
it was with difficulty, therefore, that I kept moving. Faint 
and weary as I was, I realized, however, the fact that halting 
was impossible ; for with the dawn Charlton and his followers 
would be galloping over every field in search of me. To 
escape, I must keep on my feet, no matter at what cost of pain 
and suffering. Better to endure that now, and live to enjoy 
Kate s love, than run the risk of capture, and a miserable death 
at the end of a rope. 




374 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Stumbling along as best I could, but at an uneven pace, I 
followed the course of the river, as it wound about under the 
mountains. My progress was, however, so slow and tedious 
that when the first faint streaks of daylight appeared in the 
sky I feared I had not yet placed all danger behind. An hour 
later, and objects around me became distinguishable ; but 
though I saw no signs of being pursued, neither did I perceive 
any indication of the Federal line. Still, I felt confident they 
were not far distant. 

While thus calculating the chances and changes of fortune, 
a turn in the path suddenly brought me to a deserted breast 
work ; and as I slowly clambered over it, two men rushed for 
ward, and made me their prisoner. A glance was sufficient to 
tell me that they were Federal cavalrymen. At last I was in 
the hands of friends. 

"Mine Gott in Himmel! ver you gome from, eh?" ejaculated 
one of the men, the yellow chevrons on his sleeve showing him 
to be a corporal. 

" Why, from the other side of the breastwork, to be sure," 
said I, amused at the stupid question. 

"Veil, I see dot meinself. But what for you gome over? 
Dot s what I vant to know." 

" What regiment do you belong to ? " I asked, ignoring the 
corporal s inquiry. 

" Dird Neuw Jersey," replied the corporal. " For why you 
ask, eh?" 

" Just to find out. Now send me to the rear : I want to see 
the officer in command." 

" Yaw, dot is all righd. Hans vill dake yer to de major," 
said the corporal, evidently mystified by my unexpected appear 
ance and confident manner. 

" Yous bee mein brisoner," said Hans, laying his big paw on 
my shoulder; "an ef you blays me any dricks I shoots you mit 
de head, preddy quick righd avay." 

" Go ahead, my Dutch friend," said I. 



IN FRESH TOILS. 375 

" I bees not a Dietchman, I bees von Gherman ! " exclaimed 
Hans indignantly. 

"All right, old fellow. It would take a big bullet to go 
through that thick skull of yours." 

Hans seemed disposed at first to resent my badinage, for he 
rattled his saber menacingly ; but finally abandoned all belli 
gerent intent, and led the way to the picket-reserve. We pro 
ceeded down the path for a few minutes, when I found myself 
in the presence of the picket-officer. Major Rosenburg listened 
to my statements very courteously, and expressed his belief in 
their truth. 

"But I must send you down to the Ferry under guard, 
captain," said he apologetically: "you see, I have only your 
personal word that you are an officer in the Federal army." 

" Of course, sir. That is what I should do under similar cir 
cumstances. But please send me at once, for my wound needs 
attention." 

" The man who brought you in here will be your escort," 
said the major, indicating Hans with a gesture. " Rosenbaum, 
get your horse, and take the prisoner to headquarters." 

"Is there a large force of Federals in the valley at present?" 
said I as Hans disappeared. 

" Excuse me, sir," replied Major Rosenburg rather stiffly : " I 
can not give you any information. If you satisfy the general 
as to your true character, you will then learn all you wish." 

" I beg your pardon, major. I forgot I was in Confederate 
uniform. You are quite right. I bid you good-day, sir, with 
many thanks for your kindness." 

" Good-day, sir," replied Major Rosenburg. 

Following Hans to a clump of trees, he soon mounted, and 
led me into a road. We had proceeded scarcely a dozen rods 
when my guard caught a glimpse of the revolver I carried in 
the breast of my coat. 

" Donner and blitzen ! You bees hev a peestol ! " he ex 
claimed. 



376 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" So I have. I had forgotten all about it," said I. 

" So ! What for you dakes me ? a dommed fool, eh ? " 

" You re not far from being one," was my reply, surprised at 
the man s angry tone. u But I don t understand you, m} 
friend. What do you mean by all this? " 

" Mein Gott ! You dakes your obbertunity, and shoots me 
thru mein head ven I vas not looking. Yous shust gib me 
dot peestol." 

" Certainly, if you wish it. Here it is ! " 

Scarcely had the fellow got possession of the revolver than 
he cocked it, and poked the muzzle in my face. 

44 What the devil are you doing?" I exclaimed, leaping back 
to avoid the weapon. 

" Vot I means ? Vhy, to shoot you now, righd avay." 

" Shoot me ! " said I. " Why, you were ordered to take me 
to the general at the Ferry, you blundering fool. Did you 
not hear me tell your major just now, that I was a Union 
officer? Do your duty. I am sorry now I gave you that 
revolver." 

" Oh ! yous bees sorry. Veil, I shoots you anyvay." 

" Look here, my fine fellow. If I am to be shot, don t you 
think it will be well to wait until your general gives the order ? 
If you shoot me now, you may have to face half a dozen car 
bines yourself." 

" I tells yous shust vot I does. I ties yous to mein saddle, 
dot s vot I does ! " exclaimed Hans, as if the thought was a 
brilliant one. 

" I don t care what you do, so you take me to the Ferry," 
I replied, thankful that the fellow s mood had changed. 

Hans immediately made a slip-noose on one end of his lariat, 
and passed it over my wrist, making the other end of the cord 
fast to a ring in his saddle. 

Finding resistance to be worse than useless, I submitted to 
my fate, and did my best to keep pace with the horse ; but I 
could not avoid the frequent jerks of the cord on my wrist 



IN FRESH TOILS. 



377 



It was fully four miles to the Ferry ; and in that distance I suf 
fered greatly, the ignorant brute on horseback seeming to have 
no compassion. I bore the pain and fatigue with such phi 
losophy as I could muster, hoping to turn the tables on my 
escort when I saw the general. 

At length we entered the little straggling village of Harper s 
Ferry, shut in as it is by towering mountains on every side. 
The Shenandoah River now lost its peaceful, placid character ; 
for, finding its passage to the Potomac narrowed by the gorge 
through which it 
poured, the stream 
boiled and foamed in 
angry mood, carrying 
its bluster into the 
waters of the more 
majestic river beyond. 
Passing down Shenan 
doah Street on our way 
to headquarters, we 
met a staff-officer on 
horseback. 

" What have you 
there ? " he inquired of 
my guard. 

" He bees von rebel, 
vot dried to run avay, UNDEK GIJAKD 

so I ties him to mem 
saddle," was Hans s mendacious reply. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," I began : " I am not a Confederate, 
but a" 

" Oh ! never mind what or who you are now," interrupted 
the aide impatiently : " you can settle that question by and 
by. Take him to the guard-house, my man." 

" But I want to see the general ! " I exclaimed. " It s all a 
mistake. I must see the general." 




378 BULLET AND SHELL. 

u Confound your impudence ! The general has something 
else to attend to. The provost-guard will look after you ; " 
and the speaker galloped on out of sight. 

Before many minutes I was in an old half-ruined house, on 
the river-bank, surrounded by some twenty or thirty Confeder 
ate soldiers. They informed me that they had been taken on 
a picket-line a few nights before, and were expecting to be sent 
to the prison-camp at Elmira. They were astonished to learn 
that I was not an officer in the Southern army ; and I was com 
pelled to explain the circumstances which brought me among 
them. But I was at a loss how to extricate myself from this 
absurd predicament. 

The guard over these Confederate prisoners was commanded 
by an Irish sergeant, who reminded me of Dennis by his odd 
speeches. Being evidently good-natured, I decided to appeal 
to him. During my forced march to the Ferry, at the heels of 
Hans s horse, I had lost my hat ; the stubborn wretch refusing 
to stop until I could pick it up. This would be sufficient 
excuse for my purpose. 

u An is it a hat ye want? Shure, I don t blame ye for 
wantin one," said the sergeant ; " but how can I get one to fit 
ye?" 

" Ask the officer of the day to let me go to the store, under 
guard, and pick one out for myself." 

" Deed, an I will, this blessed minnit." 

Half an hour after, one of the corporals called me out, and 
escorted me to the store, not far distant. As we entered, a 
group of officers who were lounging near the counter stared at 
me as if I were some strange animal. To my delight, in the 
middle of the group I recognized Charles Osborne, the corre 
spondent. 

" Good-day, Osborne. What are you doing up here ? " was 
my quiet salutation, as I walked up to him and held out my hand. 

"Excuse me, sir, but I don t remember you," replied Os 
borne, evidently surprised. 



IN FRESH TOILS. 379 

" Perhaps not, seeing me in this confounded dress. Don t 
you remember Captain Wilmot of the Zouaves? we met at 
Gettysburg, and since very often." 

" What ! Frank Wilmot, who had all the prisoners at Point of 
Rocks last summer ? " 

" The same." 

" Why, man, you were reported killed at the Wilderness, and 
I wrote your obituary. Colonel Harding hasn t been the same 
man since. How comes it that you are alive?" said Osborne. 

"Simply because I wasn t killed, that s all. When I re 
covered my senses after being wounded, the Confederates had 
me a prisoner." 

" How did you escape ? " 

" That s a pretty long story : I can t tell it now, for I want 
you to help me, Osborne." 

" All right, old fellow : what is it I am to do ? " 

" Why, nobody here will believe me when I say that I am 
not a Confederate, and I can not get audience with the general. 
You know me : go and tell him." 

"What! haven t you seen General Stahl? Why is that 
corporal with you ? " exclaimed one of the officers. 

" They have put me among some other Confederate prisoners, 
and will pack me off to Elmira, I suppose, if some one does not 
interfere." 

" You have been shamefully treated, Wilmot," said Osborne. 
"I propose, gentlemen, to see this thing out. Let us all go 
with him to the general." 

"Just what I was going to propose," remarked one of the 
officers : " won t the old man be mad, though, when he hears of 
this ! " 

"I came here to buy a hat," said I, laughing; forT was of 
course delighted at the happy turn affairs had taken. 

" Bother your hat ! " cried Osborne : " you are more pictur 
esque as you are. Besides, when the general releases you we ll 
have to fit you out in a new rig." 



380 BULLET AND SHELL. 

On arriving at the general s quarters I was at once ushered 
into his presence. The sight of a man in Confederate uniform 
in the midst of so many of his officers amazed General Stahl ; 
but when Osborne explained who I was, how I had escaped 
through the Confederate lines, and how outrageously I had 
been treated, his indignation knew no bounds. 

" What ! " shouted the angry general : " a Union officer 
comes through the lines, and is crammed into the guard-house 
without my knowledge ! By heaven ! I ll make an example of 
some one for this. Orderly, call the officer of the day." 

" I beg your pardon, general ; but the officer of the day had 
nothing to do with it. We met a staff-officer on the road just 
outside the town. It was he who ordered me to be taken to 
the guard-house." 

" His name ? " asked the general. 

" That I do not know." 

" Did you tell him you were a Federal officer in disguise ? " 
demanded General Stahl. 

44 1 attempted to do so ; but he would not listen, and, when I 
asked to see you, said that you had something else to attend 
to." 

44 1 wish I knew who he was," remarked the brigadier wrath- 
fully. 

44 Well, sir, though I do not know the aide s name, I can 
fortunately point him out, for here he comes." 

44 Lieutenant Forsyth, did you meet this gentleman on the 
road this morning ? " asked the general in a freezing tone, as 
the officer entered the room and paused in surprise. 

44 1 believe I did," stammered the lieutenant. 

44 Well, sir, you insulted a brave officer of your own army , 
and, if you had had a spark of feeling in your heart you would 
have listened to him even if he had proved to be what he 
appears, a Confederate soldier. Lieutenant Forsyth, you will 
report at once to your regiment for duty : you can no longer 
serve on my staff." 



IN FRESH TOILS. 381 

" But, general " 

" Enough : I want no such aides as you about me," said Gen 
eral Stahl. 

Lieutenant Forsyth touched his cap in silence, and left the 
room, overcome by his disgrace. 

" And now, Mr. Wilmot," continued the general in a pleas- 
anter tone, " I have great pleasure in releasing you from fur 
ther annoyance. Major Phillips, our surgeon here, will see 
your wounds dressed; and I know your brother officers will 
take pleasure in seeing you equipped in the uniform of your 
rank. It will never do to let you go to Washington in that 
guise." 

" Come, Wilmot," said Osborne gleefully : " I ll take you in 
charge for old Harding s sake, who thinks you dead and buried. 
Lord! won t he be surprised when he hears that you are so 
much alive ! May I take the captain with me, general?" 

" Certainly ; and I will send you a pass, captain, in time for 
the afternoon train;" and the general cordially grasped my 
hand as I withdrew. 

I was once more free ! 

" Upon my word, Osborne," said I an hour or two afterwards, 
as we stood on the railroad-platform, waiting for the train, 
" you turn up in the most unexpected places. How came you 
in this out-of-the-way corner?" 

" It s going to be a very important corner before long," re 
plied Osborne, " or you wouldn t see me here. I can not tell 
you all I know, for the War Department holds a tight rein over 
us correspondents ; but this I can say, the Shenandoah is des 
tined to be famous before the end of the summer." 

"You can not mean that Lee is going to attempt another 
invasion ? " 

" Well, you are not far out in your guess ; but, if Lee does 
attempt it, he is going to get a worse licking than ever." 

" Where is the Army of the Potomac now ? " 

" Upon my word, Wilmot, it s positively refreshing to have 



382 BULLET AND SHELL. 

you ask such a question ; though of course you can not know. 
Why, my boy, Grant has driven Lee all the way back to 
McClellan s old ground, and has carried the army across the 
James River, where he is besieging the Confederates in front 
of Petersburg." 

" That seems amazing to me, for I have heard nothing except 
that our army had sustained defeat after defeat," said I. 

tb Of course : that s what all our returned prisoners say. 
Well, old fellow, here is the train." 

" Good-by, Osborne : you are my good genius." 

" There s many a general who wears the silver star can say 
the same," laughed the correspondent. " We newspaper men 
make more generals than we break." 

The whistle of the impatient locomotive warned us that it 
was time to part : so with a warm grasp of the hand I left my 
friend behind me, and entered on another lease of hospital-life 
at Annapolis. 



BY MINE AND SAP. 



383 



CHAPTER XXXIII. 



- M&L& 



BY MINE AND SAP. 

"The cannons have their bowels full of wrath; 
And ready mounted are they, to spit forth." 

AVING failed to break Lee s Wilderness line 
on opening the campaign of 1864, Grant, by 
a clever flank movement towards his left, gave 
battle at Spottsylvania ; only to find the Con 
federate leader stubbornly confronting his new 
position. These tactics were repeated again 
and again, and a series of battles ensued until 
the armies met on the North Anna River ; 
where Lee gave check, compelling Grant to 
cross the Pamunkey River, and traverse Mc- 
Clellan s scene of operations. The desperate 
and bloody battle at Cold Harbor resulted in 
the Federal army crossing the James River, and joining the 
forces under Butler. Holding the interior line, Lee stopped 
Grant at Petersburg by a strong line of intrenchments, com 
pelling the latter to enter on a siege. Though the overland 
campaign had terribly crippled the Confederate army, their 
general had shown his military genius by holding on to Rich 
mond, always the strategic point of attack. The loss of life 
on both sides had been awful ; for thousands upon thousands of 
brave men lay, buried and unburied, amid the forests through 
which the contending armies had struggled and fought. 

In July, Lee made his favorite move on Washington in hopes 
of shaking off Grant ; but the latter met the Confederate col- 




384 BULLET AND SHELL. 

umn in the Shenandoah Valley by sending another under Sher- 
idan, who crushed Early, and destroyed the wheat-crop upon 
which the latter depended to feed his troops. 

Meanwhile, Sherman had assumed the offensive, and, defeat 
ing Johnston by turning his flank, marched straight for the 
city of Atlanta, Georgia ; capturing the place despite the efforts 
of Hood, who had succeeded Johnston in command of that 
portion of the Confederate forces. 

Such was the situation of affairs in the field when one Octo 
ber morning I again approached the confines of the Army of 
the Potomac. 

My wounds had been slow in healing, so I had passed the 
summer months in hospital. Permission to join my regiment 
was given at last, and I joyfully abandoned the quiet hospital- 
life for the excitement to be found in campaigning. 

Leaving Washington by steamer, I reached Fortress Monroe 
the following morning, and ascending the James River, arrived 
at City Point during the afternoon. All the way up the James 
we found the river alive with steam and sailing craft, their 
number increasing as we proceeded. At last we turned a sud 
den bend in the river, and I caught a glimpse of the army s 
base of supplies. Above and below the line of rude wharves, 
along the left bank of the muddy stream, four or five gunboats 
lay at anchor ; while around them river and ocean steamers 
were moving to and fro, as they sought to discharge their 
freights of food and ammunition, or retired for fresh cargoes. 
Here and there clusters of schooners, their broad sails all 
housed and furled, were being towed round the bend by tugs 
puffing noisily over their tasks. Nestling under the bluffs 
were long lines of railroad-cars; and the shriek of a locomo 
tive-whistle pierced the ear as a train moved slowly from 
behind the immense storehouses, and passed out of sight 
through a wide cutting. The bluffs were crowned by canvas 
towns, which, even at that distance, I knew to be the sutler s 
domain. On the extreme end of the point, some distance above 



BY MINE AND SAP. 385 

the wharves, stood a tall pole, from the top of which floated a 
huge garrison-flag ; and under it a cluster of huts. 

"What does that flag mean?" I asked a burly sutler who 
was exchanging signals with a friend on the cliff we were now 
approaching. 

" Grant s headquarters," was the laconic response. " Guess 
this is your first visit here, seeing you didn t know Grant s 
camp." 

" Yes," I replied : " I ve been in hospital ever since the 
Wilderness." 

" So ! why, I have lost and made a fortune since then. Had 
mighty bad luck at the White House : army moved too quick," 
said the sutler half in soliloquy. " Well, you ll find it mighty 
queer work here, among the ditches and bomb-proofs, I can tell 
you." 

I nodded in silence, having no sympathy with the sutler s 
gains or losses. A few minutes after, the steamer touched the 
wharf, and I was on shore. 

" Oh ! your corps is away in the extreme left of the line," 
said an officer I had approached for information. " Just get on 
top of the first car you come to, and go as far as they will take 
you." 

Before I could return thanks for this concise and lucid expla 
nation, an officer in the uniform of my own regiment pushed 
through the crowd. It was my old friend Dennis. 

" An hev ye come at last? Bedad, it s mesilf that s glad to 
see ye," was his salutation, as he threw his arms around me. 

" How is the regiment ? Is the colonel well ? " I asked. 

" The boys are all well, those of em that s left ; and won t 
the colonel be deloighted to see ye ! " 

" Not more so than I will. But, Dennis, when did you get 
your commission ? Colonel Harding did not mention it in his 
letters." 

" That was to be a surproise to ye. It was only last week 
that I got the sthrap on my shoulder, an moighty quare it feels 



386 BULLET AND SHELL. 

even now. But the colonel said Idesarved it; so here I am wid 
a gould laced cap and sword, loike yersilf." 

" I am delighted, Dennis. You were luckier than 1 in getting 
back to the regiment. When was it? " 

" Jist afther Could Harbor, which I wasn t sorry to miss. Ah, 
Frank ! whin you parted from me in that hot corner in the Wil- 
dherness, an I saw ye runnin to catch up wid the b yes, I felt 
like cry in because I wasn t wid ye. But I knew it was no 
use, so started back. An whin I heard ye had been killed, me 
heart was broke intoirely. But whin the papers at Alexandria 
said that ye hadn t bin dead at all, but was aloive and kickin , 
why, I got well right off, and kem out for another bit of the 
shindy. Hev ye any baggage?" 

" Only this valise," I replied, smiling at the rapidity with 
which Dennis jumped from one subject to another. 

" Well, we mustn t sthand here talkin all day, or we ll miss 
the train ; " and Dennis began elbowing his way through the 
crowd still gathered on the landing-stage. 

Following him, I clambered to the roof of a car ; and we were 
soon moving towards that ever-receding line, "the front." At 
Washington I heard a passenger, bound for Fortress Monroe, 
remark to a friend on the dock that he was going to the front. 
At the Fortress, people spoke of City Point as the front; 
and now I was leaving the Point itself in search of the mys 
terious line ; only to learn, on reaching my quarters, that the 
picket-trenches were the only front the soldiers now recognized. 

The trip from City Point to Warren Station, a distance of 
eleven miles, was peculiarly interesting to me. Scarcely had 
our train emerged from the deep cut in the cliff, when Dennis 
pointed to a long line of fresh earth on our right about a mile 
away. 

" Do ye see thim breastworks, Frank?" said he. 

"Yes. What of them?" 

" Well, that s the first trenches the b yes dug, after crossin" 
the river ; and now there s more than fifty miles of em." 



BY MINE AND SAP. 387 

" Fifty miles ! " said I in surprise. " Why, you said our corps 
was only thirteen miles from the Point." 

"An it isn t any more. Ye forgit the approaches, and the 
parallels, and the forts, and the curtains, and the divil knows 
what all. Shure, they re loike burrows in a rabbit-warren." 

The intrenchments were not the only evidence of the pres 
ence of our army, for the ground was bare. Not a rail or a 
post remained to mark the fields ; and every tree and shrub for 
miles around had been swept away to supply timber for the 
bomb-proofs, or fuel for fires. Even shade-trees had been sac 
rificed, a broad expanse of blackened stumps alone indicating 
where woods and groves had once gladdened the landscape. 

Passing over a high trestle of rough poles, we crossed a wide 
ravine, through which trickled a dirty-looking creek ; and then 
we dashed on over the undulating surface of the land. Unlike 
most railroads I had seen, there was no attempt made here to 
grade the track : so the train rose and fell in its progress like a 
ship rolling on the billows of the sea. The jolting over the 
rudely laid rails was terrific, making it difficult to retain our 
seats as the cars rocked to and fro beneath us. Reaching 
Meade Station, near the center of the siege-line, we ran quite 
close to the fortifications, and I saw a brigade at drill in a wide 
hollow. 

" What road is this ? " said I to Dennis as we passed an old- 
fashioned roadway, the wide ditches and ragged hedges betray 
ing its character. 

" The Jerusalem plank," replied Dennis. " Though the 
planks hev gone into the breastworks long ago. That big fort 
down there beyant is Fort Hell. Begorra ! it s well named." 

Following Dennis s finger with my eye, I saw a great mound 
of earth rising like a gigantic ant-hill. As I looked, a puff of 
smoke rose above the fort, and a deafening detonation filled 
the air. 

" Be jabers ! an they re at it agin ! " exclaimed my compan 
ion. " It s not often they re quiet down there." 



388 BULLET AND SHELL. 

The puff of smoke grew larger, and the sound of other can 
non came to my ears ; while more distant reports showed that 
the Confederates were replying. The rapidly moving train, 
however, did not permit our seeing the result of the artillery 
duel. 

" I wonder if we are to get a shot ourselves," said Dennis, as 
he peered attentively towards the line. 

" Why, can they fire at the trains ? " 

" Troth, an they can ; and, what s more, they do bad cess 
to them ! A bit furdher on, the train runs through a ditch 
because of the murdhering shells." 

As if to emphasize Dennis s words, a shell at that moment 
went shrieking over our heads. 

" Hurroo ! Didn t I tell ye ? It s lucky we re moving, or they 
moight be putting a shell into the ammynition." 

" Ammunition ! Is there any on board this train ? " I ex 
claimed, startled at the suggestion: 

" Ye may well say that," responded Dennis coolly. " Shure, 
the car we re sittin on is crammed to the muzzle wid powdher. 
If a shell hits it, we ll all be blown to the moon." 

Laughing at Dennis s grim humor, I clung to my seat as the 
train rushed into a cutting ; the ridge of earth thrown up being 
intended as a protection, the necessity therefor being shown 
by a shattered locomotive lying a little distance off. As we 
plunged into the ditch, for it was nothing more, with a 
lurch that threatened to sweep us all from the roof, both Den 
nis and I were suddenly sprinkled with a shower of sand. 

"Arrah! an wasn t that close quarthers?" exclaimed Lieu 
tenant Malone, shaking himself. "How d ye loike that?" 

" Why, it was only a little dirt blown from the bank," I re 
plied contentedly. 

" Blown from the bank ? You re right, me b ye ; but it was 
not the wind, but a shell that struck there above us. Shure, 
they ve got the range beautifully." 

" Upon my word, Dennis, this is exciting traveling ! " 



BY MINE AND SAP. 



389 



" Isn t it? I thought ye d loike it," replied Dennis confidently. 
" But then it is nothin whin ye git used to it, as the eel said 
whin he was bein skinned." 

So this was siege-life ! How different from the long and 
rapid marches, the picket-posts on river-banks and in shady 







M^-> ": 



GOING TO CAMP UNDER FIRE. 



woods, or the skirmishes and battles in field and forest ! Com 
pelled to burrow like moles in the ground, the troops were 
exposed to shell and shot by day and night. The angry bark 
of mortars, and the sullen boom of siege-cannon, were ever in 
the ear; the reverberating thunder of the heavier ordnance 
being only enlivened by the rattle of musketry as the pickets 
were roused into sudden action. Even as I mused over the 
change, the confused sounds of the never-ending conflict 



390 BULLET AND SHELL. 

deafened me ; and it was a relief to find the train leaving the 
vicinity of the main line. 

We were now on comparatively new ground ; for the woods 
were as yet untouched, and the hedges more trim and even in 
their outlines. Large bodies of troops lay here encamped, 
evidently in reserve. Next we came to the camp of the 
cavalry division ; and in a few minutes more the train dashed 
through a sea of army-wagons, and halted at a long platform. 

" This is Warren Station, and yonder is our amby-lance," said 
Dennis, scrambling down from the car. 

Descending from my perch on the roof, with stiffened limbs, 
I was an hour afterward in our regimental camp. 

My brother officers received me warmly, but there were only 
five or six of those who entered the charge with me at the 
Wilderness. Among the new faces, I recognized several ser 
geants who had earned promotions during my absence. To my 
surprise, they greeted me by the title of Major ! 

" Ye see, Frank, I wasn t to tell ye," said Dennis in answer 
to my question. " Colonel Harding intended it as a surprise." 

But at what a cost had I attained my rank ! All my seniors 
at the beginning of the campaign were now either dead, or 
disabled for life. Such are the chances and vicissitudes of war. 



IN FORT AND FIELD. 



391 



CHAPTER XXXIV. 

IN FORT AND FIELD. 

A scaly gauntlet now, with points of steel, 
Must glove this hand." 

ERY long absence now made siege-life any 
thing but tedious to me, however monoto 
nous it might be to my comrades. Though I 
could no longer volunteer for picket-duty, my 
rank gave me frequent command of our bri 
gade-line ; and I never wearied of the excite 
ment to be found in the advanced trenches. 
Indeed, I often amused myself, while off duty, 
by visiting the center; and passed many a 
night in the forts, watching huge bell-mouthed 
mortars send ten-inch shells into the enemy s 
works, or listening to the fierce cross-fire of 
solid shot as it played across the front of our fort from neigh 
boring redoubts , the active pickets in the trenches below add 
ing to the din by their sharp and continuous volleys, the men 
lying enveloped in the smoke of our guns. The Confederate 
fortifications would soon be concealed by heavy banks of smoke, 
through which vivid flashes constantly played, as the gunners 
replied to our iron hail. Now and then a missile would go 
whizzing over our heads, or come crashing through the earth 
work, scattering gravel and sand in all directions. A groan 
often betrayed the effect of these visitors, and two or three men 
would go crawling to the rear in search of a surgeon. Hour 
after hour would slip away, yet the tremendous roar and rattle 




392 BULLET AND SHELL. 

seldom ceased until cannon and mortar grew too hot to handle. 
Then piece after piece would gradually slacken its fire, and 
finally become mute, the picket-firing being checked, and a 
portentous silence falling upon the scene. Then, as the white 
smoke lifted from parapet and trench, the outlines of the op 
posing lines became once more visible, and the sun s rays again 
shone over the marred and shattered landscape. 

These bombardments, though exciting and thrilling enough 
in the sunshine, were exceeded in their awful grandeur when 
witnessed in the night. Standing by the side of a silent Parrott 
gun, whose huge dimensions towered above my head, I leaned 
with Dennis one evening over the parapet, gazing with curious 
eyes on the combat. The flashes of the opposing cannon were 
so frequent that the outlying fortifications on both sides of the 
struggle were clearly visible in the darkness ; while narrow rib 
bons of fire ran fitfully up and down the advanced trenches, like 
oil burning on water, as the opposing pickets maintained an 
angry, incessant fusillade on each other. The ground beneath 
my feet actually trembled under the repeated concussions ; until 
it seemed as if I were standing on the brink of a volcano, 
instead of watching a deadly artillery duel between two great 
armies. 

Fascinated by the spectacle enacted before my eyes, and 
awed by the awful detonations of the heavy siege-guns, the 
sharp rattle of musketry, or the dull reverberations of bursting 
bombs, I forgot the danger of the moment until recalled to my 
senses by a monster shell tumbling into the traverse we occu 
pied. As the blazing bomb fizzed and sputtered at my feet, 
Dennis seized my arm, and dragged me into the next compart 
ment. He was not a moment too soon ; for, as we gained the 
other side of the wall of gabions and sand-bags, the missile 
exploded. 

" Moses in the bulrushes ! but that was touch an go," 
exclaimed Dennis, as we instinctively shrank from the bits of 
iron whistling over our heads. " Arrah, Frank ! why will ye 



IN FORT AND FIELD. 393 

timpt Providence in this way? It s bad enough to take our 
turn on the line when it comes, but coming here whin we 
moight be lyin shnug in the bomb-proofs isn t the thing at all/ 

" If you don t like it, why did you insist on coming with 
me?" said I. 

" Why did I ? Why, because ye couldn t take care o yersilf 
alone, though ye are a major. But it s small thanks I get for 
comin , anyway." 

" Come, come, Dennis : you know I am glad to have you by 
my side." 

" Then why foind fault wid me ? " 

Touched by my comrade s devotion, I grasped his honest 
hand in silence, as we continued to watch the progress of the 
midnight engagement. 

The whole of our line was now engaged ; and the roar of the 
guns deepened as the increased torrent of shot and shell poured 
across the ground between us and the enemy, until we knew 
that fully five hundred pieces of artillery were in action. 
Looking up and down our line, I could see luminous clouds of 
smoke rising, and enveloping the land; the flashes from the 
guns giving an unearthly light to the scene, while bursting 
shells in mid-air added to the glare. For hours did this cease 
less cannonading continue, only slackening when the first faint 
streaks of daylight appeared in the east. Then, and then only, 
did the exhausted artillerists pause in their horrid work, and 
the thunder perceptibly lessened in volume as the sun reddened 
the horizon. 

Rousing Dennis, for he had been quietly sleeping at my 
side for over an hour, we retraced our steps to our camp; 
finding on our arrival that orders had been issued for the corps 
to go on a reconnoissance towards the Meherrin River. 

All was now bustle and excitement, for the prospect of a 
change from siege-duty to that of open campaigning was a 
delightful prospect to both officers and men. Knapsacks were 
speedily packed, extra ammunition served out, and ten days 1 



394 BULLET AND SHELL. 

rations of hard-bread, coffee, and sugar, safely stored away in 
the haversacks ; shelter-tents were rolled up, pack-horses laden 
with officers stores, and a long train of wagons stood in park, 
ready for the road. By ten o clock all was in readiness ; and 
at the sound of our bugles the corps marched to the rear, 
towards the Jerusalem road, a strong body of cavalry cover 
ing the advance of our column. 

Amid the bustle of our preparations, I received a summons 
from General Fletcher to join his staff, so rode gayly forward 
to the head of our brigade. The day was bright and clear ; the 
December frost being just sufficient to keep the road in good 
order, and lessen the fatigue of the men as they marched for 
ward under their heavy loads of clothing and food. As we 
passed through the woods, and lost sight of the intrenchments 
before the beleaguered city of Petersburg, squirrels scampered 
up the trees and chattered noisily at our intrusion, while a few 
belated birds flitted among the branches. A marcli of six 
miles brought us to the side of a stream ; and, going into biv 
ouac under the trees, we slept as only tired soldiers can. 

" General Fletcher," said an aide from the corps-staff, as Ave 
began the march at sunrise the next morning, " General Ayres 
requests you to send an officer down that road, to see that the 
stragglers get no apple-jack." 

u Major Wilmot, will you please ride down, and see that the 
general s orders are obeyed?" said the brigadier, as he returned 
the aide s salute. 

Lifting my cap in acknowledgment, I galloped off. About 
a mile down the road I came to a clearing, with an old-fash 
ioned Virginia mansion in its midst. Around the house were 
several infantry soldiers, Avho prowled about evidently in search 
of something to carry off. At the sound of my horse s feet 
they began scattering. Riding through the gate, I perceived 
an elderly man and two women on the veranda. 

" Coine, men, get back to your regiments ! " I shouted to the 
stragglers. " What are you doing here ? " 



IN FORT AND FIELD. 395 

" The} are looking for apple-jack," said the planter ; " an 
I ve bin a-telling em they ll not find any here." 

" I am glad of it," was my reply, as I watched the men sul 
lenly move off towards the road over which the corps was 
moving. 

kw Will you step in, sir, and have some breakfast?" said the 
youngest of the two women, a scarlet jacket setting off her 
pretty figure to great advantage ; a fact she seemed to fully 
appreciate, judging by her coquettish glances. 

" Thank you, miss. Breakfast in times like these is not to 
be despised or refused." 

Entering the house, I was soon enjoying a bountiful meal, my 
entertainers being very grateful to me for driving away the 
stragglers. They were naturally curious as to the meaning of 
our movement, it being the first time so large a body of troops 
had passed that way ; but I was almost as ignorant as them 
selves, so could give them very little information. As I rose 
from the table, we were startled by the sound of horsemen. 
Fearing a trap, I ran to the door, to find the lawn in possession 
of a troop of Federal cavalry. 

" Halloa, major ! What are you doing here all alone ? " ex 
claimed the officer in command. 

- Driving up stragglers," I replied. " May I ask your errand ? " 

" Searching for apple-jack." 

" You will find none here. This old gentleman assures me he 
has none," said I. 

" I m not so sure of that," replied the lieutenant. " Some of 
you men go into the cellar and look." 

Two or three obeyed, but soon returned with the informa 
tion that they could find no liquor. 

" Lucky for them," said the officer. " If we had found 
apple-jack, it would have been spilled on the grass ; but we 
mustn t go empty-handed." 

" Why, what else do you want?" I asked, wondering what 
he meant. 



396 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



" Something to eat, to be sure. Sergeant, what is that over 
there ? " and the officer pointed to a rude table of split logs in 
the rear yard. 

"Them s my hogs, sir," said the old man: "we killed em 
last night." 

" Pork, eh ! Just the thing." 

" Surely you will not rob these people of their provisions ? " 
said I indignantly. 




FORAGING ON THE ENEMY. 

" You just wait and see," he replied nonchalantly, as he 
nodded to his men. 

They were quick to take the hint, and running eagerly to 
the pile of hams and shoulders soon had them scattered and 
fastened to their saddles. 

" Come, major, you had better ride with us : these woods are 
getting dangerous," said the lieutenant, as he gave his men the 
order to mount. 

Disgusted at the barefaced robbery I had witnessed but 
could not prevent, I made my acknowledgments to my hosts, 



IN FORT AND FIELD. 397 

leaped into my saddle, and rode after the detachment, though 
I did not soon forget the indignation visible on the faces of 
those who had treated me so hospitably. 

The movement we had undertaken occupied ten days ; the 
infantry finding nothing to do but listen to the sharp skirmish 
ing of the cavalry in front, until we reached the river and the 
line of the Weldon Railroad. After destroying a couple of 
bridges, we next tore up the track for a distance of twenty 
miles, and warped the rails by placing them on piles of blazing 
ties. It was hot and suffocating work though, for the smoke 
from the countless fires filled the woods and parched our 
throats. 

As night fell on the second day after this work of demolition 
and destruction had begun, I repaired to brigade headquarters, 
tired and hungry by my exertions ; being glad to find, on my 
arrival, that the general and staff were beginning supper. 

"Why, there s Osborne ! " exclaimed Lieutenant Jenkins as 
the clatter of knives and forks commenced : " I ll call him over. 
He ll get his supper, and we ll get the news." 

" Sit down, Mr. Osborne," said General Fletcher, as the cor 
respondent rode up in response to Jenkins s hail. " I presume 
you are hungry like the rest of us." 

" Hunger is no word for it, general," replied Osborne. " I m 
famished, for I have eaten nothing but a few biscuits since 
breakfast." 

" What s going on down by the river ? " asked one of the 
staff. " I heard heavy firing about noon." 

" Oh ! Wilson made a dash across with a few regiments, and 
so took the bridge," replied Osborne. " It s a whopper, and will 
make a mighty big blaze to-night. After that is gone, the rail 
road will be entirely useless to Lee. We shall probably start 
back some time to-morrow." 

The meal over, we stretched ourselves before the great fire 
built by the orderlies, and smoking our pipes chatted over the 
events of the campaign. 



398 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Osborne, what was that you had tied to your saddle when 
you rode up? " asked young Jenkins. 

" Only half a dozen chickens," replied the correspondent, 
with a laugh. 

"Foraging, eh? "remarked General Fletcher. "Don t you 
know foraging is strictly forbidden, except to the cavalry?" 

" Oh, yes ! I know," indolently responded Osborne. " That 
was just what General Warren asked me down the road." 

" And what did you say to him ? " asked the general with a 
smile of amusement on his face. 

"Well, you see, general," said Osborne, refilling his brier- 
wood pipe, "I went down to the bridge where the cavalry 
were fighting, just to see if I couldn t find something pictur 
esque to put into my dispatches, and found a lot of cavalry 
men at a house near by, chasing chickens. One of the men 
recognized me, and offered me some of the fowls ; which I of 
course accepted, and tied to my saddle, at the same time giving 
the fellow a dollar to buy tobacco with. On riding back, who 
should I see but General Warren, standing on a stump by the 
side of the road, watching the cavalry skirmish on the other 
side of the river! Just as I was passing him, the confounded 
chickens gave a flutter, and so frightened my horse that he 
wheeled clean round and exposed my plunder." 

" You were nicely caught, Charley," said the brigade surgeon. 

"Wasn t I? Well, the general of course wanted to know 
where I got them. Remembering the dollar, I boldly said I 
had bought and paid for them. General Warren shook his 
head as if he doubted my assertion, but waved his hand in 
dismissal, and continued his observations of the movement in 
front. So I took the hint, and rode on." 

" Well, you got out of the scrape rather luckily," said Major 
Curtis, the adjutant-general, when we had ceased laughing over 
the incident. " You newspaper men have fine times of it, rid 
ing all over the country just as you please. I often envy you 
correspondents, for the life must be an easy one." 



IN FORT AND FIELD. 399 

"Not so easy as you fellows imagine," replied Osborne: " we 
run many a danger you do not dream of." 

" Of course you go under fire now and then," said Major 
Curtis, " or you couldn t describe the battles as you do. But 
what I mean is, that you have so much freedom." 

" Queer freedom," retorted the correspondent disdainfully. 
" I don t deny the life has its attractions and fascinations. 
But when a battle is over your work is done, and you can rest ; 
while the hardest part of mine commences, for then we must 
write our descriptions, and frequently risk our lives in getting 
to the rear in order to send them off. Why, do you know, I 
saw the battle of Winchester under Sheridan in the Shenan- 
doah Valley, and your fight at Peebles s farm, in front of 
Petersburg, in the same week." 

" Oh ! come, now, Osborne. Two battles in two different 
armies in one week," said Major Curtis incredulously, " isn t 
that a little steep ? " 

"Not at all. But it s a pretty long story: perhaps you 
would not care to hear it." 

" Tell it, by all means, Mr. Osborne," said the general : " I 
am sure it will prove interesting." 

Thus encouraged, Osborne laid aside his pipe, stretched him 
self into a more comfortable position on his blanket, and pro 
ceeded to tell the story which will be found in my next 
chapter. 



400 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXXV. 



THE COKEESPONDENT S STOKY. 

"The keen spirit 

Seizes the prompt occasion, makes the thought 
Start into instant service." 




knows that I spent 
summer in the Valley of 






HE major over there 
several weeks last 

the Shenandoah. At the time of which I 
- speak, Sheridan and Early had been for sev 
eral weeks marching up and down after one 
another ; and the two armies were facing each 
other near Mount Summit. Our troops had 
thrown up a line of breastworks just beyond 
Charlestown, where old John Brown was 
hung, you know. Every thing was provok- 
ingly quiet and uninteresting, viewed from a 
correspondent s standpoint. The seat of war 
seemed to have drifted away from that section, and I began to 
think there would be no more fighting in the Valley. 

Others besides myself believed that Sheridan s scope of 
offensive operations was at an end ; for my chief, in the office, 
ordered me to proceed to the lines before Petersburg. I gladly 
obeyed, and, reaching Washington in due time, applied for a 
pass to City Point. 

I need not remind any of you that red-tape is a staple article 
at the capital, so I was not surprised at being told that the 
pass would not be ready for a day or two. As that probably 
meant a week, I decided to visit some friends in Baltimore. 



THE CORRESPONDENT S STORY. 401 

On Sunday morning, the memorable 18th of September, as 
I was sitting on the piazza of Barnum s Hotel, I was handed 
the following telegram : 

" HARPER S FERRY, VA., Sept. 18, 18G4. 
" To CHARLES OSBORNE, Correspondent. 

Your horse is dead. Will get you another. Will need two hun 
dred dollars. "STEVE." 

This, of course, was a message in cipher. It had been sent 
by an old friend of mine, a staff-officer on duty at the Ferry. 
Translated by the code we had arranged for such emergencies, 
it conveyed to me the following information : 

u Every thing is in motion here and at the front. A battle is 
imminent. I think it will be a decisive one. Come up at once." 

It was all very well for Major Post to say, " come up ; " but 
there was no train, it being Sunday, and I knew that Sheridan 
would not wait an hour, let alone a day, for all the correspond 
ents in the country. It was quite evident to my mind, as I 
sat there twiddling the telegram in my fingers, that the move 
ment on foot must be an important one ; for, if my staff friend 
thought so, he had good solid grounds for his opinions. 
Besides, I remembered that Grant had visited Sheridan a few 
days before, and probably planned it with him. 

B ut there I sat, ovier a hundred miles from the scene of 
operations, and no train before the morning. If Sheridan was 
already moving, as the dispatch indicated, he would probably 
fight the next day ; and unless I reached the field before noon 
I could do nothing. It was apparently a hopeless case. 

All at once I began to see daylight, and some hopes of sue 
cess. 

I must first tell you that in the early part of the summer, 
when Hunter was skedaddling towards the Ferry, after one of 
his brief skirmishes, I was accidentally able to render a good 
bit of service to the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. 



402 VULLET AND SHELL. 

I had left Hunter s main force, and succeeded in reaching 
Harper s Ferry before it was known there that he was falling 
back. On arriving at the railroad-platform, I noticed that 
there were but few cars lying under the hill, and on inquiry 
learned that two or three freight-trains had gone up to Mar- 
tinsburg a few hours before. Nobody at the Ferry seemed to 
be aware that Hunter s flank had been turned ; but I knew that 
the enemy were marching direct for Martinsburg, if they had 
not already entered the town. I therefore decided on a bold 
stroke. 

You see, I realized that if the Confederates burned the 
railroad-bridge just below Martinsburg, as they had often done 
before, these trains would be captured and destroyed. Enter 
ing the telegraph-office, I wrote a message to the station-master, 
ordering him to start down all the locomotives and cars in his 
hands, at the same time telling him of his danger. 

The astonished operator hesitated at first to accept my dis 
patch, knowing very well that I had no authority on the road-, 
but on my assuring him that there was no time to lose, the 
message was soon flashed to its destination. 

It did not go a moment too soon. In less than ten minutes 
after my warning arrived, locomotive after locomotive rattled 
down the road towards the Ferry. 

The three trains crossed the bridge in safety. It was a 
narrow escape, though ; for as the station-master stood on the 
rear platform of the last train, and saw the timbers of the 
bridge glide under his feet, the sharp rattle of musketry broke 
on his ear, a few of the bullets crashing through the windows 
of the car at his back. The bridge was actually in flames 
before the trains were out of sight: so there was great glee 
among the railroad-officials, over the escape of their rolling- 
stock. 

When Mr. Smith, the master of transportation, learned how 
the trains had been warned by me, he promised me any facility 
he could extend in the future, as a return for the service. 



THE CORRESPONDENT S STORY. 403 

So, as I sat fumbling the provost-marshal s cipher message, I 
remembered this promise, and at once decided to avail myself 
of it. 

Taking a cab, I started in search of Mr. Smith, finding him 
at church, where I explained the situation, and my anxiety to 
reach the valley that day. 

u You shall have a locomotive, Osborne," said he. "Come! 
drive me over to the depot." 

Half an hour after, I was seated in the cab of an engine, 
whirling over the rails for my destination. It was an exciting 
ride ; for there were, of course, no stoppages. As we passed 
station after station, dashed over bridge after bridge, or went 
whizzing through tunnel after tunnel, I enjoyed the speed 
amazingly, and began believing that luck was again on my 
side. 

The wrecked bridge below Martinsburg was reached just as 
the sun was dropping behind the mountains ; and I gleefully 
leaped from the cab, bidding my friend the engineer a hearty 
good-by as I did so. 

Soon after passing Harper s Ferry, we had heard frequent 
cannonading; a fact which made it evident to my mind that 
fighting was going on somewhere in the Valley above. As mile 
after mile was gained above the Ferry, these guns sounded 
louder and louder, their reverberations being at times so dis 
tinct, that the engineer more than once laid his hand on the 
lever and looked inquiringly into my face. I re-assured him by 
saying that the cannonading seemed near, because the guns 
were being fired at the foot of the mountains, consequently 
we were in no danger. But I noticed, that, as soon as Mr. 
Engineer had fairly got rid of his passenger, he lost no time 
in retracing his iron path to the Ferry- 

I was now on foot, entirely alone, with only a navy revolver 
in my belt, and a small flask of brandy in one of my blouse- 
pockets. But I was near the battle-ground : that was quite 
certain, and it was better than being idle and helpless in Balti 



404 BULLET AND SHELL. 

more. I might accomplish something where I was : in the city 
I could do nothing. 

Walking quietly up the road in that delicious light that 
comes in the Shenandoah between the hours of sunset and 
darkness, I soon reached the town. The place was almost 
empty, some half dozen intoxicated cavalrymen being the only 
signs of Federal occupation. 

Like humpbacked Richard in the play, I would have given 
at that moment whatever kingdom I possessed, for a horse : 
the question was, where to get the animal. 

Meeting a trooper who had been making too free with apple 
jack, I purchased his horse for fifty dollars, and was soon after 
galloping over the turnpike towards the scene of hostilities. 

By the time I had got clear of the town, the rays of sunset 
had entirely disappeared, and the cannonading had slackened 
considerably ; only an occasional gun uttering its sullen roar 
as the shades of evening grew deeper. 

Forward I rode, until the night darkened my path ; the 
silence broken only by the reverberations of my horse s hoofs 
on the macadamized road ; through woods that seemed doubly 
dark in the uncertain starlight, past fields stripped of their 
fences, and across brooks and creeks the possession of which 
had been so often contested during the summer : on I rode until 
my eyes were at length gladdened by the sight of the cavalry 
watch-fires as they occupied the right of Sheridan s line. 

Riding into General Ouster s headquarters soon after day 
break, I leaped from my horse ; the poor brute being utterly 
broken down by the severity of his journey. Ouster, the good- 
hearted fellow he always is, furnished me with a fresh horse 
from his train, and over a good breakfast gave me a clear and 
graphic description of the movements during the previous day. 
It had been a cavalry engagement entirely, and had been 
forced on the enemy for the purpose of turning his flank in 
anticipation of a more decided and complete assault along the 
entire line. I had arrived just in time ; for already Sheridan 



THE CORRESPONDENT S STORY. 405 

had his three corps of infantry moving, and there was every 
prospect of a desperate battle being fought before the day 
was over. 

During the whole of that day, I saw for myself the progress 
of the battle which, to use Sheridan s own words, " sent Early 
whirling through Winchester." I witnessed the several des 
perate charges made during the afternoon by the Sixth and 
Nineteenth Corps, and was within a stone s-throw of General 
Russell when that cannon-ball carried away his head. I was 
present at the headlong dash made by the cavalry, under Merritt 
and Ouster, as they were hurled by Sheridan like an avalanche 
on the enemy s wings ; and I watched "Little Phil " himself as 
he coolly directed the movements of his troops, and won the 
field which gave him renown and promotion. In fact, I saw 
all there was to see, and was satisfied. 

When the army entered Winchester, and pushed on in pur 
suit, it was almost nightfall. Finding that Early s forces were 
in rapid retreat, I knew that the next thing for me to do was 
to get to a telegraph-wire, and so tell my exciting and wonder 
ful story. 

The scene at the little stone bridge just outside the town of 
Winchester was, at that moment, a peculiarly striking and in 
teresting one. The moon was rising over the mountains, their 
dark shadows lying in long stretches across the valley, while 
numerous camp-fires in the fields revealed the trains belong 
ing to the Federal army. The narrow streets of the little city 
were thronged by heavy columns of infantry, as they followed 
our cavalry already far in the advance ; the rough cobble-stone 
pavements resounding now and then with the low rumble 
of artillery, as battery after battery went forward to some 
designated position beyond the town. It was indeed a thrill 
ing scene of war, for my ears were still ringing with the roar 
of cannon and the rattle of small-arms. As I sat there on my 
horse, watching the ambulances moving in with the wounded, 
I again heard, in fancy, the cheers of the infantry as they 



406 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



rushed into the charge, saw the bright flash of the sabers as 
they kissed the sunlight, the flutter of the gay pennons as the 
cavalry made their remorseless descent upon Early s discomfited 
lines. 

Hearing all these sounds in imagination, and calling to mind 
again the exciting episodes of the battle, my brain was still 
busy with plans how to return safely to the line of communi 
cation with the East. 

Suddenly the sharp clatter of horses feet reverberated in 

the night air, and I saw 
a small detachment of 
cavalry coming over the 
bridge. As it passed 
me I inquired its desti 
nation. 

" Going to the rear 
with dispatches," was 
the brief reply. 

Here was my oppor 
tunity at last. Spur 
ring forward, I soon ex 
plained my wishes to 
the lieutenant, when he 
cordially invited me to 
accompany him. 

Hour after hour our little body of horsemen cantered over 
the dirt-road, on our way to Berryville ; which village we 
reached soon after midnight. Here we found the supply-trains,, 
securely parked, waiting for the dawn, to take the road up the 
Valley. The straggling little town was crammed with team 
sters ; and as usual, they were full of wild rumors and hidden 
dangers. They told us of midnight assassinations by bush 
whackers, and desultory attacks on their flanks by Mosby and 
his men. In fact, every man we met was afraid of his own 
shadow. 




GOING TO THE REAR WITH DISPATCHES. 



THE CORRESPONDENT S STORY. 407 

To my disgust, the escort lieutenant became infected by 
these fears, and decided to remain in bivouac until daylight. 

This, of course, did not suit my book at all ; for I knew, that, 
unless I reached the Ferry in time for the regular train for 
Baltimore, all my previous hard work would be lost. I there 
fore announced my intention of riding on alone. Tightening 
the girth of my saddle, and carefully reloading my revolver, I 
set out on my lonely and somewhat dangerous ride. 

The distance from Berry ville to Harper s Ferry was too long 
and hazardous for me to attempt : so I struck out to the left 
at the fork of the roads below the town, in the direction of 
Martinsburg. 

I had been fortunate, during the afternoon, in being able to 
exchange the animal given me by General Ouster for one I 
caught while it was quietly grazing on the battle-field, among 
the corpses strewn over the plain : so I knew I could make good 
time. 

The moon was now shining bright and clear, so the road lay 
distinctly defined before me. But I was naturally nervous 
through want of sleep, and I knew any clump of bushes by the 
roadside might conceal a bushwhacker. So on I cantered 
until daylight came, when my horse broke into a gallop, and I 
soon reached Martinsburg. 

Walking down to the trestle bridge, I found the railroad-con 
struction party busily at work. Being provided with an order 
from Mr. Smith, I presented the document to the chief of the 
party, and requested him to send me down the road to the 
Ferry. As the order was an imperative one, my demand was 
obeyed, and I was soon, enjoying another rapid ride on a loco 
motive. 

I caught the Baltimore train in good time ; and, as I stepped 
on board, no one dreamed that I had come so rapidly from the 
battle all knew had been fought somewhere up the Valley. 
Sitting in the train, I collected my thoughts, and arranged the 
few notes I had taken. I had now been without sleep eve] 



408 BULLET AND SHELL. 

since Sunday morning, had passed two nights and one entire 
day 011 horseback, and here on Tuesday afternoon was on my 
way to Washington with full details of an important and 
glorious victory. 

I reached Washington that evening, and for over three hours 
lay on a couch, dictating my description of the engagement. 
I was so exhausted by fatigue, it was impossible for me to 
write : so we employed stenographers. Page after page these 
nimble writers took down my words, and page after page my 
story was sent over the wires to our newspaper, and read by 
thousands over their breakfast-table the following morning. 

Midnight came as the task was ended ; and I was preparing 
for a good long sleep, when, to my surprise, a fresh demand was 
made upon me. The fact of my arrival so soon after the bat 
tle had been noised about, for in Washington such news flies 
fast ; and a polite message had come from the President, request 
ing me to visit him before retiring. Such a request could 
not be ignored : so I jumped into a carriage, and was driven to 
the White House. On my arrival, I found Mr. Lincoln, with 
Secretaries Seward and Stanton, waiting for me. 

" We are very sorry, sir, to put you to so much trouble," 
said Mr. Lincoln ; " but the fact is, Mr. Correspondent, we are 
anxious to learn the details of General Sheridan s victory. 
We can not wait for your printed story. You know so much, 
and we so little, I thought you might be willing to tell us your 
news in person." 

" I shall be only too happy, sir, to tell you what I have seen 
in the Valley," I replied. " But I supposed General Sheridan s 
dispatches had arrived long before this: he had the wire at 
Harper s Ferry, a privilege I was denied." 

" Yes : we received Sheridan s report some hours ago," said 
Mr. Stanton ; " but, though eminently satisfactory in stating 
the general results, his dispatch is so brief and curt, it gives 
us no adequate idea of the scope of the fight." 

"Well, gentlemen," said I, "I will do iny best. Please 



THE CORRESPONDENT S STORY. 409 

order me a few sheets of paper, and some colored pencils, for 
rough maps of the different movements." 

For two long hours I sat at a table, all alone with the three 
principal officers of the government, telling a simple story of a 
battle, fought only a few hours before, one hundred miles away. 
As I drew my maps, and related how the engagement had been 
pushed here, and given up there ; how the heavy mass of infant 
ry in the center had moved steadily forward in the face of a 
galling fire ; how the cavalry had finally given the coup de grace 
by swift, resistless charges on the enemy s flanks ; how Russell 
had died, and Sheridan acted, I felt all the enthusiasm of the 
fight again come over me ; and my three auditors participated 
in my excitement. 

The contrast presented by these three distinguished men, as 
I talked, was a striking one. Lincoln s homely but expressive 
features seemed to lighten up as he listened to my description 
of some exciting scene. He appeared to see the awful vortex 
of death and flame, as the Nineteenth Corps moved into it to 
relieve the pressure on the Sixth. His lips parted, and he 
straightened his tall form, when I spoke of the rapidity of the 
artillery fire, and the flash of the bright sabers of the cavalry 
drawn in the sunshine. He was, for the moment, on the ground 
itself; and his mind ran ahead of my words, and saw with his 
own eyes the entire scene of operations. Seward was fully as 
much interested and carried away as his chief, though he 
manfested it in a totally different way. His shaggy eyebrows 
fell lower as he leaned forward gazing at my diagrams, and he 
gave an audible sigh of relief or satisfaction when I came to a 
turning-point in the tide of battle. Stanton stood up almost 
behind me ; and he would ask a brief question now and then, 
which showed how well he grasped the situation. His voice 
was, however, calm and collected ; and his soft eyes glistened 
through his spectacles as he stroked his luxuriant black 
beard. 

I lost my sense of weariness ; and we all forgot the lapse of 



410 BULLET AND SHELL. 

time until I had fairly finished, and rose to leave. All three 
of the gentlemen thanked me warmly for my courtesy. 

" Can we do any thing for you in return ? " asked the Presi 
dent. 

" Yes, sir," said I, " you can. I am under orders to join the 
Army of the Potomac, and made application for a pass five 
days ago. I am the more anxious now to get there ; for, Early 
having been doubled up in the valley, Grant will no doubt be 
stirring at Lee to prevent his sending reinforcements to the 
Shenandoah. I would like to have my pass in time for to 
day s steamer." 

" I see you have studied the art of war to some purpose," 
remarked Mr. Lincoln with a genial laugh. " Mr. Stanton will 
see that you have your pass at once." 

I then went to bed, being roused at noon to find my pass 
ready to my hand. That afternoon I embarked for City Point, 
and reached the siege-works the next day, in time to see War 
ren extend his lines beyond the Weldon Road, when you fellows 
carried the earthworks so gallantly, and began the movements 
since kept up on Lee s right. So you see, gentlemen, that was 
how I came to be present at two battles in two different armies 
within a single week. But I shall never forget the fatigue 
attending the effort. 



DEATH OF A SPY. 



411 



CHAPTER XXXVI. 

DEATH OF A SPY. 

"There s not so much danger 
In a known foe, as in a suspected friend," 

HAT S an excellent story of yours, Charley," 
said Major Curtis as Osborne finished his nar 
rative. "No wonder you enjoy the life of a 
newspaper correspondent. Why, it beats 
staff-duty all hollow." 

" There s more excitement about it," replied 
Osborne, " and not half the danger." 

" I don t know about that," said young Jen 
kins : " there s plenty of danger in those night- 
rides of yours. I d think twice before risking 
myself as you did." 

" Then, I ll recommend you for dispatch- 
duty," said Osborne with a sly laugh. 

" Bah ! that fellow had his escort, while you went it alone as 
one does at cards when he s got a good hand," replied the aide. 
" Well," said General Fletcher, " I think that Mr. Osborne 
had not only a good hand, but a better head, when he rode 
away from Berry ville. Your story has interested me very 
much, sir, and I shall esteem you correspondents more highly 
hereafter. I had no idea that you ran such risks, or encoun 
tered such perils." 

" Very few people do, general," said Osborne : " they read a 
newspaper, and then toss it aside without a thought of the 
labor and pains taken to furnish them with news." 




412 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Your story, Osborne," said Major Curtis, " reminds me of 
something Ouster did, while I was in the Valley, during the 
beginning of Sheridan s campaign. You all know I came to 
the Fifth Corps because of the promotion it gave me." 

" Tell us all about it, major," said I : "these stories will pass 
away the time." 

"All right: here goes." And the adjutant-general proceeded 
as follows : 

We had made a rapid advance from Halltown Heights, 
just outside of Harper s Ferry; and, after a running fight cover 
ing several days, we went quietly into camp in the deserted 
meadows at the foot of Cedar Mountain, where Sheridan 
afterwards made his famous ride. 

The cavalry had done most of the skirmishing during our 
advance ; the Confederates offering very little opposition beyond 
the occasional firing of a field-piece, or a sudden flurry among 
the pickets, in order to gain time and give their trains a chance 
to gain safer distance from our main body. 

General Custer at that time commanded what was known as 
the Iron Brigade, composed mostly of Michigan regiments. He 
had gone on as far as Front Royal, up in the mountains some 
where, and enjoyed a sharp brush with the Confederate cavalry, 
which happened to be in tolerably strong force in that neigh 
borhood. On their return, the brigade passed through a little 
bit of a village called Painted Post, not far from Cedar Creek. 
While the command was trampling through the dust that lay 
hoof-deep in the road, one of Custer s officers captured a tall, 
fine-looking man in one of the houses ; and they brought him 
on to camp. 

I had ridden over that evening to see George, my old chum 
at West Point ; and was sitting with him and his staff, round 
the camp-fire, after supper, just as we are doing now, when I 
noticed that Custer was abstracted and thoughtful. 

u What s the matter ? " said I. " You seem sad." 



DEATH OF A SPY. 413 

" I have good reason to be, my dear fellow. Yet I see no 
other course open to me," he added, as if speaking to himself, 
while he kicked a log into the fire. 

" What do you mean ? Is it another move, or army secret I 
should not know ? " I asked. 

" Oh ! there s no secret at all," replied Ouster. " You know 
we captured a man in the village, down the road." 

"Yes. What of him?" 

"Only that my adjutant-general has just recognized him 
as one of the Confederate guards who escorted him and the 
other Federals taken prisoner at the cavalry engagement we 
had last summer at Brandy, near Beverly Ford. He has gone, 
with two other officers who were captured at the same time, to 
see the prisoner." 

" You think the fellow is a spy, I suppose." 

" That s just it," exclaimed Ouster, rising to his feet. "I feel 
that he is a spy, and a dangerous one too, judging from his 
looks and demeanor. We are surrounded by spies in this 
valley." 

At that moment the three officers came up to make their 
report. 

" Well, gentlemen," said the general, u have you seen the 
prisoner ? What do you think of him ? " 

" They both recognized him at once, general, as one of our 
old guards," replied the adjutant-general; u and were given 
no previous hint from me, as you expressly desired." 

"Is this so?" queried Ouster in an anxious tone; and as he 
spoke he gazed intently into the faces of the two officers. 

" I would know him among fifty," said the taller of the two, 
a big, broad-shouldered, gentlemanly-looking man, whose rusty 
shoulder-strap showed his rank to be that of lieutenant-colonel. 

" So would I," remarked the other. " That blue powder-mark 
on his chin recalled him to my mind at the first glance." 

" I know he was one of the guard," added the adjutant. 

"Very well, gentlemen," said General Ouster slowly. "The 



414 BULLET AND SHELL. 

evidence seems to be very clear. I will not detain you any 
longer." 

The two officers withdrew; and, as they rode off to their 
respective commands, General Custer turned to his adjutant, 
and ordered the prisoner to be brought before him. 

The scene in the Valley at that moment was a very beautiful 
one. The sun had just dropped behind the hill-tops, and the 
air was cool, while a delicious breeze sprang up and came to us 
laden with the perfume of the fields and woods. The scattered 
fires among the camps were beginning to burn brighter as the 
shades of evening grew darker, and the warlike appearance of 
the landscape assumed a softer beauty. The tents, the fires, 
the shrill neighing of the cavalry-horses, the hoarse challenges 
of the sentinels, and the occasional dropping shots on the dis 
tant picket-lines, gave active life to the picture. In the fore 
ground was being enacted a stranger scene, one involving life 
and death. 

The prisoner came to our fire between two sentries, and, on 
seeing the general seated on the other side, drew himself up 
stiffly as though resenting his arrest. 

" My man, we think you are a spy," said General Custer in a 
quiet voice. " What have you to say to the charge ? Can you 
prove yourself not to be one ? " 

" There s a woman here, from the village," replied the pris 
oner, ignoring the general s questions : " she will tell you I am 
her son. I live in the village. Does that make me a spy?" 

" Where is the woman ? " exclaimed Custer. 

Here a woman of elderly appearance, and evidently in some 
terror, came forward, and stood silently looking at the general. 

" Is this man your son ? " was his first question. 

" Yes, he is," was her reply. 

ki How long has he been in the village ? " 

" Ever since last spring." 

" You are sure, quite sure, he is your son ? " 

"Yes." 



DEATH OF A SPY. 



415 



" Does he belong to the Southern army ? " 

" 1 dunno." 

" Will you swear that he is your son? " 

" Yes." 

At this moment an orderly came up on horseback, and, 
dismounting, whispered a few words in the ear of the adjutant- 
general, at the same time handing him a bundle. 

The adjutant stepped forward, and, quietly unrolling the 
bundle, disclosed a Confederate uniform. 







GENERAL CUSTER AND THE SPY. 

General," said he, "this uniform was found in this woman s 
house, where we captured the prisoner." 

A sudden flush in the man s face, a swift look of anger, and 
a glance exchanged between him and the woman, was all the 
answer either made to the announcement. 

" That will do," remarked General Ouster gravely : " remove 
the woman." 

As she turned to follow the orderly, the woman gazed for a 
moment into the face of the prisoner ; but it was evident to all 
that she was not his mother, as indeed the man afterwards 



416 BULLET AND SHELL. 

admitted, for she made no effort to bid him farewell, or to 
embrace him. 

"My man, it s a clear case," said Ouster, as soon as the 
woman was out of hearing : " you are a soldier of the Confeder 
ate army, and inside our lines in disguise. You are therefore 
a spy according to the rules of war. It is my duty to inform 
you that you must die." 

"Die? What! without a trial?" exclaimed the prisoner in a 
startled tone. 

" You have been tried just now. And I, as a general in the 
service of the United-States Government, have condemned you 
as a spy. I beg of you to believe me when I say that there is 
no hope for you. You die at eight to-morrow morning. I will 
send the chaplain to yon, and trust you will endeavor to pre 
pare yourself for your fate." 

"Are you in earnest?" demanded the prisoner. 

"Indeed I am. Remove the prisoner. If he attempts to 
escape, shoot him," and the general turned to his tent. 

The condemned man walked away scornfully, evidently believ 
ing that some trick was being plaj^ed upon him. The chaplain, 
however, spent the night with him in the guard-tent, and 
finally succeeded in convincing his charge that the sentence of 
death would really be carried into effect. 

Sure enough, a gallows-trap was prepared at daylight by 
nailing a barn-door by its hinges to the projecting limb of an 
apple-tree, in a hollow near brigade headquarters. At the 
appointed hour, the Confederate was brought out, and hanged 
in the presence of the entire brigade. The prisoner met his 
fate bravely, with scarcely a word ; and, in a few minutes after, 
his body was buried in a grave at the foot of a tree. 

After the execution, General Custer invited me to ride over 
with him to General Sheridan s headquarters. We met the 
general as he was about sallying forth on a tour of inspection 
along the lines. 

"Ah, Custer! good-morning. Any thing new over your 
? " was his salutation. 



DEATH OF A SPY. 417 

" Yes, general. I came to report that we caught a spy at 
Painted Post yesterday, tried him last evening, and hanged 
him this morning." 

"The devil you did!" exclaimed General Sheridan. "That s 
excellent. That s the way to do it. If a little more of that 
sort of thing was done in this Valley, we should have fewer 
spies among us." 

"I am glad you approve of my action," said Ouster, "for" 

" There, there, never mind the spy, Ouster. He s safe enough 
now. Are your horses fit for another reconnoissance ? That s 
far more important," said General Sheridan in his quick, im 
pulsive manner. 

"Ready at any moment, general," replied Ouster, his eye 
kindling at the prospect of another dash. 

" All right. I may want you to cut around the mountain 
here. If so, I ll send you your orders this evening. Good- 
day." 

And that was all there was about the spy. 

"That was just like Sheridan," remarked Osborne as the 
major concluded. " He knew the danger of spies. The Valley 
was full of them at that time. I remember the execution very 
well, but knew none of the particulars. The hanging of that 
man probably did more to drive spies away than any thing else. 
Sheridan and Ouster were quite right." 

"I agree with you," said General Fletcher. "A single 
human life counts for nothing in this mighty game of war. 
When a man becomes a spy he takes his life in his hand." 

" Well, gentlemen," said Osborne, " I think we had better 
get some sleep. You know reveille waits for no man, be he a 
general or a simple correspondent." 

" That s a very sensible suggestion," remarked the general, 
curling himself up in his blanket. " Good-night, sir." 

The example was soon followed by the rest of the party, and 
in a few moments we were all wrapped in slumber. 



418 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXXVII. 



A LAST EFFORT. 

"Ah! the smoke has rolled away; 
And I see the Northern rifles gleaming down the ranks of gray." 

, ... HE winter of 1864-65 had passed, and the 
fields were beginning to wear that first faint 
tinge of green which is the sure harbinger of 
spring. Sherman had accomplished his won 
derful march to the sea. Wilmington had 
fallen by the capture of Fort Fisher, and the 
lines before Petersburg and Richmond were 
being drawn tighter and tighter. Lee was 
evidently restive, for one or two unimportant 
engagements had been forced by him. In 
the Shenandoah Valley, Sheridan was gather 
ing up his reins for a bold raid which was to 
bring him into Grant s lines. The Sixth Corps had returned 
to our siege-works. Every thing pointed to some decisive 
movement on the part of the Army of the Potomac, so long 
tied down to parallel and trench. The busy note of prepara 
tion was everywhere visible. Reinforcements and supplies were 
arriving; and the army waited with impatience for the crisis 
which all believed would end the war, and release a million of 
men for the pursuits of peace. 

I had ridden along our picket-lines, as field-officer, one 
night in March, reaching my hut long after midnight, tired 
and sleepy. The fire on the rude hearth was smoldering, and 
Dennis peacefully snored in his bunk. Kicking the few remain- 




A LAST EFFORT. 419 

ing embers together, and throwing on a stick or two, I mused 
over the events of the past few years, the changes that 
had occurred, the scenes I had witnessed. How long I sat 
there in the genial warmth of the blazing logs, I know not ; 
for I fell asleep in my chair. Suddenly I was awakened by 
a tremendous and continuous roll of musketry, closely followed 
by some sharp cannonading. 

" Begorra ! there s something up," cried Dennis, as he sat up 
among his blankets, and rubbed his eyes. " Major, did ye hear 
that firm ?" 

" Hear it ? Of course I heard it. There it goes again ! " 

" I wonder where the divil it is, anyway." 

"Some distance away," I replied, "judging by the sound." 

" They re hard at it, wherever it is," said Dennis, leaping to 
his feet, and beginning to dress. "It s all rifle-firm now. 
Maybe we re attacked." 

" Very likely," said I ; " for, if we were attacking, our corps 
would be under arms." 

" Major Wilmot, are you awake ? " asked Colonel Harding, 
putting his head, at that moment, through the door. 

" Yes, colonel. I have not been to bed yet." 

"That was an awful volley just now," said the colonel. 
" By heavens, they re at it again ! I wonder whereabouts it 
is." 

" That s just what I was axing myself just now," remarked 
Lieutenant Malone, as he pulled on his second boot. " Have 
ye any ordhers, colonel ? " 

" Yes, Malone : as you are dressed, just run along the lines 
of the officers huts, and rout them out. We must get under 
arms, else brigade-orders may find us napping. Wilmot, will 
you order the drummers to sound the long roll ? Good God ! 
listen to that musketry. Ah ! the artillery are beginning to 
wake up. It was high time." 

Leaving the colonel to finish his speech to himself, I ran to 
the drummers quarters, finding the boys all outside their huts 



420 . BULLET AND SHELL. 

listening to the heavy firing. Several had their drums with 
them : so we soon had the rataplan going, thus adding to the 
racket, the other regiments following suit. 

It was not yet daylight ; but during the half-hour that 
elapsed between the beginning of the fusillade, and our getting 
under arms, the row along the lines on the right and center 
had grown rapidly in volume and intensity, coming nearer and 
nearer as the batteries and forts along the front were involved 
in the action. No orders came for us beyond the word that our 
brigade would form at the sound of our general s bugle : so the 
regiment stood in line, listening to the engagement, wondering 
what it could all mean. 

" Major Wilmot," said young Jenkins, riding up, " General 
Fletcher wishes you to go down and see if you can ascertain 
what is going on over there. He thinks you can spare him, 
colonel." 

" Certainly, Jenkins, if the general desires it," was Colonel 
Harding s response. 

" All right. I m off," said I, pleased at having something to do. 

In a few minutes I reached the main road, leading to the 
center of our position, and galloped on, glad to notice signs of 
the coming day. Although I had had very little sleep, my 
senses were all alert, and I enjoyed the rapid pace of my horse 
as he plunged forward under the spur. In half an hour I 
reached the Jerusalem road, and found large masses of infantry 
hurrying towards the scene of the battle now evidently pro 
gressing somewhere inside our line. 

"What has happened?" said I to a mounted officer as he 
passed me at a hard gallop. 

" Lee has broken through our lines, and captured Fort Stead- 
man," was the reply. 

This was a surprising bit of news, and fully explained the 
intensity and fierceness of the musketry. The Confederates 
must have attacked suddenly and in heavy force, else so strong 
a fort could not have been taken so quickly. 



A LAST EFFORT. 



421 



Daylight had now come ; and, as I rode past the camps of 
Hartranft s Pennsylvania troops, I saw they were empty, so the 
division must be already on the field. In a few moments more 
I was myself on the ground. 

The reddening of the eastern sky clearly revealed the situa 
tion. A heavy column of the enemy was pouring through the 
wide gates of Fort Steadman, and hastily pushing forward to 
support the advance. At a glance I saw that the aim of this 




THE CONFEDERATES CAPTUKE FORT STEADMAN. 

desperate movement was to cut off the main body of our army 
from its base at City Point. 

Finding my horse completely blown by his long gallop, I 
drew rein on a knoll, and watched the Confederates as they 
steadily formed in the hollow. By this time a second column 
had found ingress to the left of the fort, and came up rapidly ; 
the two columns forming a gigantic wedge as the heads met. 
At that moment General Hartranft rode up with a couple of 
aides. Seeing me apparently idle, he shouted, 



422 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Major ! do you know where that battery has gone to ? " 

" Just behind that knoll yonder, general," I replied, point 
ing to a rolling bit of ground on my right where I had seen 
the guns a moment before. 

" Please ride over and bring them into action at once," said 
the general, turning his horse, and riding to meet his troops 
now forming in line. 

I dashed off, and found the battery standing in the hollow 
behind the hill. 

" What are you doing here ? " I cried. " Get your guns up, 
and open on that column." 

" Our captain has just been killed by a shell," replied the 
lieutenant : " I was only waiting for orders." 

" Hurry up, then : you have no time to lose," said I. 

"By sections to the left, wheel! " shouted the young officer; 
and the guns came tearing up the slope. 

" Now then, sir, give it to them," I shouted : " for God s sake, 
open fire quickly ! " 

" We ll give them a few rounds of solid shot, and then the 
grape," replied the lieutenant coolly. 

The pieces were soon barking angrily ; and the heads of the 
united column began to feel the effect, for men were falling 
at every discharge as the balls played through their huddled 
ranks. 

"Now, sergeants, give them shells, four-second fuse," cried 
the artillery-officer, quietly leaning over his horse s neck and 
patting the animal as he spoke. 

I turned to see what Hartranft was doing, being just in time 
to see his division go yelling down the opposite hill as it 
charged on the enemy. 

" Look out, sir ! " said I to the battery-commander : " you 
will soon be firing on our own men." 

" All right, major : I ll give them a round of grape first, then 
we ll shell their center." 

The grape and canister went whistling through the air ; and, 



A LAST EFFORT. 423 

as the two bodies of infantry met, the guns of the battery were 
slung a little to the right, and a shower of iron hurled into the 
center of the advancing column of Confederates. Two other 
field-batteries had by this time come up on our right, and 
opened a furious fire ; while there were more at work on the 
other side of Hartranft s column. This artillery cross-fire now 
grew too hot for our assailants : they wavered for a second un 
der the combined attack, and then began a retreat. 

In twenty minutes more the battle was practically over, and 
in less than an hour the fort was again in our hands. The 
victory had cost us dear, however ; for the field was thickly 
covered with Federal dead and wounded, and the entire gar 
rison of Fort Steadman had been captured. A few hundred 
Confederate prisoners had, however, been taken ; and their loss 
in killed and wounded had also been heavy. 

There being nothing more to do or see, I decided to return 
to my command : so rode slowly off the field, passing General 
Hartranft and his staff as I did so. 

"Your name, sir?" said the general, as he returned my 
salute. 

" Major Wilmot, of the th New York," I replied. 

" Why, you belong to the Fifth Corps. How came you to be 
here, major ? " 

" I galloped over, under orders, sir, to see what was going on." 

"You made good time," said the general pleasantly, "and 
did us good service with that confounded battery. I shall not 
forget you in my report, depend upon it." 

Gratified at the warm praise I had received, I could only 
mutter my thanks as I lifted my cap and gave my tired steed 
the spur. 

On arriving at brigade headquarters I found that my news 
had gone before me, for the regiments had broken ranks ; though 
my description of the engagement was eagerly listened to by 
General Fletcher and his staff as we sat together at breakfast. 

" Ton my soul, Wilmot, you always have luck ! " exclaimed 



424 BULLET AND SHELL. 

Jenkins : " you are the only officer of our corps who has been 
engaged in the affair." 

"You forget that Wilmot missed our summer campaign," 
remarked the brigadier. " He is only trying to make up for 
lost time. But come, gentlemen, we are to be reviewed to 
day by the President." 

"A review to-day !" I exclaimed in surprise. "Surely Lin 
coln will not think of such a thing, after the hubbub we have 
had." 

" Oh ! what does he know about it ? " replied General 
Fletcher. "Besides, Lee will scarcely make another assault 
to-day, after his repulse of this morning." 

The general was correct in his surmises, for during the after 
noon our corps stood in line for review. A few minutes after 
the bugles had ceased their clamor, hoarse commands ran along 
the lines, and the tall figure of the President galloped past. 
Then came the marching salute in column ; and, as I dropped 
the point of my sword in salute, I saw the President s wife, 
surrounded by a group of ladies, enjoying the pageantry of the 
occasion. Scarcely had our brigade passed the reviewing 
stand, when a tremendous crash of musketry broke out on the 
extreme left of our position. As it grew in fury, we were not 
surprised to find ourselves marching straight for the scene 
of the disturbance. Dropping the punctilious movement of 
parade, the corps went forward at a run ; the men in the ranks 
laughing over the sudden change in the day s programme. 

The battle was at an end, however, when we arrived; for 
after a few stubborn volleys the Confederates fell back in sul 
len mood, thus yielding ground they had hitherto held so 
tenaciously. Moving farther to the left, after some delay, our 
corps bivouacked en masse for the night. 

"Well, major," said Osborne the correspondent, suddenly 
riding up, " this day eclipses every thing I have seen yet. Do 
you know, I left flags of truce flying over Fort Steadman while 
the Confederates were receiving their dead who had fallen 



A LAST EFFORT. 425 

inside our lines, only to find your corps on review in the cen 
ter, and a sharp fight going on here ! Peace, parade, and a 
battle, at the same moment, only a few miles apart, is almost 
too much even for an enterprising correspondent." 

" I suppose you have been very busy to-day, Charley," said I. 

" Busy ! I should say so. Why, when that awful crash 
broke out this morning, I saddled my horse and galloped to 
the scene, saw most of the fight, and then rode to City Point 
in time to send off a hurried dispatch by the mail-steamer. I 
have been in the saddle since daylight, used up two horses, and 
must sit up the greater part of the night writing my descrip 
tion of this wonderful day s operations. Can you give a fellow 
any thing to eat ? " 

" To be shure we can," replied Dennis, " an a cup of whishky 
to kape ye warm, too." 

Osborne talked rapidly as he discussed the beefsteak pro 
vided by our cook, and predicted a general movement by the 
whole army within the next few days. But it needed no 
prophet to tell us that. 

The tattoo roll-call over, Dennis and I rolled ourselves in 
our blankets, leaving Osborne seated before the fire, writing. 
With a couple of blankets wrapped round his shoulders to 
keep off the wind, and the lid of a cracker-box across his 
knees, the correspondent scratched away with his pencil by the 
flickering blaze. As I lay watching him at work, I realized 
the fascination which possessed the journalist; for he had evi 
dently lost all sense of his surroundings, until compelled to 
pause and stir the dying embers into brighter flame. As each 
page was written, it was thrust into the leg of his big riding- 
boot for safety. When I awoke again at midnight, Osborne 
was still busy, having sacrificed his impromptu table to keep 
the fire going; his crouching figure showing out against the 
starlit sky like a silhouette, as he scribbled away in the un 
certain light of the camp-fire. 



426 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XXXVIII. 



BEGINNING OF THE END. 

" Steeds neigh and trample all around, 

Steel rings, spears glimmer, trumpets sound." 

Y the end of two days, no field-orders having 
come, the men began to build camps. It was 
the deceitful calm before the storm. Lee, 
shut up as he was in one corner of the board, 
had hoped, by his assault on Fort Steadman, 
to open a path between himself and Johnston. 
But the move failed; and, having lost the ini- 
L tiative, the Confederate leader was compelled 
[".to wait on the humor of his antagonist. 

On the third morning I received orders to 
report at brigade headquarters, losing no time 
in doing so. 

" Major," said General Fletcher on my entering his tent, " I 
know how you delight in special service : so, when I was called 
to furnish a field-officer, I at once thought of you." 

" You were very kind, general : nothing pleases me better. 
What am I to do?" 

" Nothing very hazardous. There is some delay about our 
ammunition ; and, as we expect orders to move at any moment, 
General Warren is naturally anxious to hurry it up. I want 
you to go to City Point and attend to the matter." 

"I understand, general, .so will ride over to the train at 
once." 

" Never mind the train," said the general : " you had better 




BEGINNING OF THE END. 427 

ride straight to the Point, for there s no telling where we may 
be when you return." 

"Is the movement so imminent, then ?" I asked. 

" Yes : Humphrey s corps will probably join us here to-night." 

" Indeed ! but won t that weaken the force along our old 
line?" 

" To some extent," replied General Fletcher. " But part of 
the army of the James is already crossing the river to reinforce 
us, and Sheridan has arrived from the Valley. But I must not 
detain you, Wilmot, for time is precious. 

Taking the hint, I withdrew, and galloped away on my 
errand. 

I had not ridden far before I realized how active were the 
preparations for the approaching campaign. Long trains of 
cars were rattling up and down the rude railroad, carrying sup 
plies ; camps were being struck as whole divisions marched to 
some new position ; horses were being re-shod in the field-bat 
teries, and caissons packed with fresh ammunition. Hundreds 
of wagons were passing to and fro between the stations and 
their respective commands, and an air of intense activity was 
visible at every turn. The army was indeed stripping for the 
fight. 

As I rode along the fortified lines a strange, unwonted silence 
prevailed, for cannon and mortar were mute ; not even a mus 
ket in the picket-trenches gave note of its presence. The only 
sounds were the creaking of the wagon-wheels as they slowly 
lumbered over the corduroy roads, and the discordant bellow 
of some stubborn mule, or the neighing of the cavalry-horses 
as they listened to the musical strains of some distant bugle. 
Accustomed as I was to the constant roar of our batteries and 
the rippling fusillade of the pickets, this absence of artillery 
thunder was all the more startling. 

44 Halloa, major ! what are you doing away down here ? " ex 
claimed the familiar voice of Correspondent Osborne as I crossed 
the Jerusalem plank-road. 



428 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" I am going to City Point, to see after our ammunition," I 
replied. 

" Oho ! that s another sign ! " cried Osborne. 

" You mean, it is a sign of a move ? " 

" Exactly. We shall probably start to-morrow, as I told Gen 
eral Meade just now," he replied. 

" General Meade ! he must have been vastly amused, Charley, 
at your volunteering information, seeing that he commands the 
army." And I began laughing at my friend s conceit. 

" It was rather funny," said Osborne coolly ; " and I don t 
wonder you laugh. You see, I met the general all alone, near 
the station ; when he, in that whimsical way of his, asked me 
for the news. I at once told him the army would move inside 
of twenty-four hours, judging by the signs. He wanted to 
know what I meant by signs : so I alluded to the fact that the 
roads were being repaired, and the blacksmiths were busy in 
the batteries and cavalry camps. The general remarked that 
horses would cast loose shoes, and the roads needed mending ; 
but I reminded him that army blacksmiths were proverbially 
lazy, and that the roads were seldom mended unless they were 
needed for the passage of artillery." 

" And what did the general say to that ? " I asked. 

" It staggered him, for the old gentleman rode off saying that 
I had sharp eyes : as if correspondents didn t need to have sharp 
eyes, and use them too ! But any fool can see with half an eye 
that we are on the eve of important events." 

" You are right, Osborne," said I : "it is the beginning of 
the end. What do you judge the scope of operations to be ? " 

" Why, don t you see, Wilmot, that Grant is going to repeat 
his old tactics, and swing round his left like an immense sledge 
hammer, and so double Lee up? He has been at it ever since 
we crossed the Rapidan. While the main force is pegging 
away at Lee s communications, these old forts will bombard the 
city as it has never been bombarded before. They have been 
carrying shot and shell to the magazines in immense quantities 



BEGINNING OF THE END. 429 

these three days. I suppose you know Ord is coming over to 
take a hand in the final scene." 

" I heard somebody was coming across the river," said I ; " and 
Sheridan is here too, I understand." 

" Pooh ! " replied Osborne contemptuously at my ignorance. 
" Why, he s come and gone off again, going to strike Lee s 
rear. He started this morning before daylight." 

" Indeed ! that looks like business," I remarked. 

"Don t it?" said Osborne eagerly. "There will be plenty 
of warm work all along the line, once the ball fairly opens. 
But I must be off, major : good-by for the present." 

Reaching City Point at noon, I found the entire place in a 
wonderful bustle. The ordnance-wharves were crammed with 
all the varied material of war, spare caissons and guns for the 
field-batteries, chests of small arms for infantry, sabers for the 
cavalry, axes, spades, and pontoons for the engineers, boxes of 
ammunition, bales of blankets, in fact, every thing that inge 
nuity could devise for strengthening and equipping an army. 
Near by were the commissariat stores. Boxes of hard-bread, 
bags of grain, and bales of hay, were piled up in every direc 
tion. Under the hills, trains were being crammed with all these 
impedimenta of war, and a fleet of steamboats lay in the stream 
with fresh cargoes to discharge. The cries of the stevedores, 
the puffings of locomotives, and the piercing steam-whistles on 
land and water, made a Babel of sounds, deafening and confus 
ing the ear by their discordance. 

Carefully picking my way through all this seeming confu 
sion, I made known my errand to the officer in charge of the 
wharf. 

" You have had your trip for nothing, major," was his reply. 
u The Fifth-Corps ammunition was sent forward three hours ago." 

"I am glad to hear it," said !; "though it is rather provok 
ing to ride twenty miles just to ascertain the fact." 

" Why didn t you come by train ? You could have got here 
in time to go back with your own ammunition." 



430 BULLET AND SHELL. 

-" Simply because I was ordered to come on horseback." 

" Well, join me at dinner. You must have a good appetite 
after your long ride." 

" Thank you. I must confess I am hungry." 

While discussing the meal, I learned that the extraordinary 
activity at the Point was occasioned by orders to furnish Gen 
eral Ord s corps with supplies at the terminus of the railroad : 
so it was evident his command was included in the contem 
plated movement on the left. 

" How many men does Ord bring over ? " I asked. 

"About ten thousand, judging by the orders for supplies. 
But there are other troops besides Ord s crossing the river: 
they are for the intrenchments." 

" To relieve Humphrey, no doubt," said I. " I know he is 
under orders to join us in the advance on the left." 

"Precisely," replied the ordnance-officer. " Parke, with the 
Ninth Corps, is to hold the old line, while you cut loose for 
a flank movement ; and he will open a bombardment at the 
proper moment. If all goes well, there will be music in the air 
before many hours." 

My horse having been fed, I bade my entertainer good-by, 
and rode away. Reaching Meade Station at nightfall, I stopped 
at a sutler s tent, hoping to obtain something to eat ; a few drops 
of rain falling as I descended from my saddle. 

"Want supper? Certainly: you are just in time," said the 
sutler hospitably, when I explained my wishes. " But what are 
you doing way down here ? he continued, noticing the Mal 
tese cross on my cap. 

" I ve been down to the Point, and must get back to my regi 
ment to-night," I replied. 

" You ll have a precious slim chance of doing so," said the 
sutler. " Don t you know the Fifth started out to join Sheridan 
to-day, before noon ? " 

" How could I, when I left it soon after reveille ? " 

" Well, there s no use your trying to find them in the dark, 



BEGINNING OF THE END. 431 

major. Besides, don t you hear the rain ? Just bunk in here 
along with us, and give that horse of yours a rest. He ll go all 
the better in the morning." 

The advice was not to be disregarded, so I accepted the 
hospitable offer with thanks. Passing into the barnlike tent, I 
found several officers belonging to the station-guard, already at 
supper. 

"Well, Jerry," said a tall, black-haired lieutenant, as he 
courteously made room for me at the rude table, " I guess our 
mess will soon break up now." 

" I shouldn t wonder if I pulled up stakes in a day or two," 
responded the sutler. "Business will be uncommonly dull now 
that the hull army is moving." 

" Lord, how it rains ! " ejaculated another of the group, turn 
ing an ear towards the canvas roof, and listening to the patter 
of the heavy drops. " It will make the roads as soft as putty 
for the artillery and wagons." 

" Lieutenant Marsh," said a sergeant, hurriedly entering the 
tent, "there s two more trains just come up, chock full of 
ammunition ; and the major wants you to see it put into the 
wagons." 

"Confound shot and shell, say I!" exclaimed my black-haired 
neighbor in a petulant tone. " I thought we were done with 
them for the present." 

" The wagons are all ready, sir, and waiting," remarked the 
sergeant, seeing that his superior made no movement. 

" Oh ! I m coming," grumbled the lieutenant, rising and fling 
ing an overcoat over his shoulders. " Go and see that the lan 
terns are all ready, sergeant, and turn out the men." 

" May I go with you ? " said I. 

"Certainly, major, if you don t care for the rain. You will 
find it precious dull work though. What they want with all 
this ammunition bothers me. The magazines must be over 
flowing ; " and Lieutenant Marsh held up the flap of the tent 
for me to pass. 



432 BULLET AND SHELL. 

On reaching the railroad-platform, an exciting and pictur 
esque sight presented itself. Lighted lanterns were swinging 
at the door of every car, and men inside were rapidly passing 
boxes of powder and shells to the wagons ranged alongside. 
Now and then a solid shot would go rumbling over the car-floor 
as it was kicked towards the wagon, and fall into the vehicle 
with a sudden thump. The dim lights, the whistles of the 
locomotives, the shouts of the drivers, and the swishing sound 
of the falling rain, made the scene a weird and novel one, even 
to my eyes. 

" There, that job s finished," said the lieutenant as the last 
wagon went groaning away in the darkness. " Come, major, 
we must run, or we ll be drenched before we can reach Jerry s 
tent." 

I was on the road early the following morning, being natur 
ally anxious to overtake the corps before the impending engage 
ment. Cantering over the muddy road in the cool, balmy air, 
and watching the mists as they sluggishly rose before the rays 
of the sun, I saw that great changes had taken place during 
my brief absence. The reserve batteries were gone ; and in the 
fields where I had left thirty thousand men in bivouac, nothing 
was now to be seen except extinguished fires and the usual 
debris of deserted camps. Both the Second and Fifth Corps 
had disappeared, their places in the line being taken by Ord s 
men. Every thing was strangely silent : the guns in the forts 
were still mute, and the pickets gave no sign of life. Even 
the railroad was deserted ; for, now that the army was moving 
for battle, all the trains were huddled together at City Point, 
awaiting the issue. No army-wagon jolted its complaining 
wheels over the exasperating corduroy roads, and neither mule 
nor steed gave vocal token of his presence ; the harsh cry 
of a solitary crow flying over my head being the only sound 
to break the ominous silence. 

Passing over the dismantled embankment of the Weldon 
Railroad just beyond Warren Station, I found the road deeply 



BEGINNING OF THE END. 



433 



scarred by wagon-wheels, so rode slowly through the mud until 
I reached the woods : here I discovered further traces of the 
passage of a column of troops, Plodding on for a mile or two, 
I unexpectedly encountered General Meade, attended only by a 
couple of orderlies. 

" I beg your pardon, general," said I, lifting my cap, " but is 
this the road the Fifth Corps took?" 

"Yes, sir, it is," replied the general, peering at me sharply 
over his glasses. " How came you to be so far in the rear ? " 




TAKEN PRISONER AGAIN. 



" I was sent to the Point, sir, and am now trying to rejoin 
my command," said I, heartily annoyed at being compelled to 
explain. 

u Duty is duty," remarked General Meade in a pleasanter 
tone, as if to set me at my ease. "I m glad we have met, 
Major, for you can be of service. Do you know the road we 
cut when the advance was made over the Boydton plank ? " 

" Perfectly, general : it runs through the pines towards the 
Taylor house." 

" Exactly. Well, I want you to find General Humphrey, 



434 BULLET AND SHELL. 

and tell him to extend his line until he touches Warren s 
right. There s a dangerous gap between them, I find." 

" All right, sir : I ll carry your order, and then ride along the 
line until I find my brigade." 

" That will be your best plan ; and tell General Humphrey 
that my headquarters are at Warren Station for the present," 
said the general, returning my salute and galloping away. 

I lost no time in seeking the road, and, entering it, rode 
gayly on, rejoicing in my luck in having something to do. 

But all these bright expectations were suddenly quenched ; 
for I had gone scarcely half a mile when ten or fifteen Confed 
erate soldiers broke through the undergrowth, and surrounded 
me. I was again a prisoner. 



SMASHING THE TRAP. 



435 



CHAPTER XXXIX. 



SMASHING THE TKAP. 

" They entered: twas a prison-room 
Of stern serenity and gloom." 

APTURED so suddenly, I was bewildered for 
the moment. My first impulse was to make a 
desperate effort to escape ; but the muzzles of 
four or five muskets in my face showed the 
futility of resistance, so I sullenly dismounted 
and unbuckled my saber-belt. Just then the 
head of an infantry-column deployed into the 
road from a path a few paces beyond. The 
Confederates had evidently discovered the gap 
in our line, and were endeavoring to profit by 
it. 

" Halloa ! where did you get that horse ? " 
demanded the officer in command, on catching sight of my 
steed. 

" Hev jist gobbled him an this ere Yank," replied one of 
the men. " He s jist what yer need, kurnel." 

" Sorry to deprive you, sir, of the animal," said the Confed 
erate colonel politely. " But the fortune of war, you know. 
How came you out here alone ? " 

" Simply rejoining my command," I replied. " I had no idea 
you held possession of this road." 

" We can scarcely claim to hold it, sir, being merely on a 
reconnoissance. But come, you will be in Petersburg before 
you expected," and the colonel laughed good-humoredly. 




436 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Well, I shall not be a prisoner long," I retorted, nettled by 
the badinage of the speaker. 

" Perhaps not," he replied stiffly. " But we are not con 
quered quite yet. Take your prisoner to the rear, corporal." 

Returning the polite bow of the colonel, who was comforta 
bly seated in my saddle, I dejectedly followed my guard, 
heartily disgusted at the untoward result of my adventure. 

Passing down the path for a few hundred yards, we struck 
the Confederate pickets, and soon after came to their line of 
battle. The men eyed me curiously as the corporal and his 
men hurried me through the ranks; one or two officers near 
me courteously removing their hats in salute, a compliment 
I promptly acknowledged. Though I was not permitted to 
linger, I saw that an important movement was in progress, for 
the force at that part of the field was a large one. In a few 
minutes, probably, the engagement would take place ; and the 
gap between Humphrey and Warren might prove fatal. Had 
I not been captured, this danger might have been avoided. 
But there was no use complaining. 

Soon after leaving the Confederate main line, we entered a 
wide road, which Corporal Packer informed me led to the city. 
Half a mile down the road we met heavy masses of infantry, 
evidently moving up to strengthen the force I had seen in the 
woods ; showing that Lee was endeavoring to ward off the blow 
threatened him. The appearance of these men was in striking 
contrast to those of our own army. Their uniforms were faded 
and torn, their equipments battered and rusty; but the men 
moved with vigorous, eager step. Brave and undaunted, these 
soldiers in butternut and gray pressed forward, apparently as 
confidently and hopefully as when the chances of war were more 
equally divided. After all, they were Americans, consequently 
full of ardor and self-reliance. 

It was noon before we reached the suburbs of Petersburg, 
and on entering the streets I was surprised to find them almost 
deserted. Here and there I caught glimpses of women s faces 



SMASHING THE TRAP. 437 

at a window, and once we met an elderly citizen who stopped 
and gazed inquisitively after me. On the outskirts we had 
encountered a few wagon-trains, but here there was nothing 
to betray the presence of an army besieged. Passing up one 
street and down another, we came at length to a sort of open 
square, evidently the business center of the city before the 
heavy hand of military occupation had put an end to all peace 
ful pursuits. Stopping in front of a low building which had 
once been occupied by a barber, I was confronted with the 
provost-marshal, who having taken my name, rank, and regi 
ment, ordered the guard to lead me away. 

Corporal Packer now led me towards the river, until suddenty 
turning a corner we halted at the door of a big brick building 
which I knew must be the prison. Originally a tobacco-ware 
house, it had a forbidding appearance ; and my heart sank at 
the prospect of a sojourn within its walls. In a few minutes 
I was in the midst of a group of Federal officers, prisoners like 
myself. 

" Halloa ! Here s a fresh fish in the net," cried one in a 
merry voice. " I say, major, has there been another bat 
tle?" 

" Not yet," I replied, " but there will be one very soon." 

" How came you to be gobbled, then ? " inquired another 
officer of my own rank. 

" I ran across a reconnoitering column in the pines." 

"Pines? why, what s going on there?" exclaimed two or 
three voices. 

" The whole army is in motion," said I. " Ord has come over, 
Parke holds the old line, and all the rest are swinging round 
on the left with Sheridan s cavalry." 

" Huzza ! " shouted the captain who had announced my 
arrival. "The siege will soon be over, then good-by to this 
infernal prison ! " 

" Stop that noise in there ! " said the sentry angrily, putting 
his head in at the door. 



438 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" How long have you fellows been here ? " I asked when the 
guard had retired. 

" Only a few days," replied the major. " We were captured 
when Lee made that desperate dash of his on Fort Steadman. 
Do you think this last move of Grant s will be success 
ful?" 

u It looks like it," I replied : " I can not see how it can prove 
otherwise." 

" Let us hope so. It s a good sign, at all events, their keep 
ing us here. If all were going well with them, we should have 
been packed off to Richmond long before this." 

My fellow-prisoners continued questioning me and discussing 
the situation until nightfall, when, a scanty supper having been 
served out, we lay on our blankets in the dark, speculating in 
whispers on the chances of our being soon released or exchanged. 
One by one they fell asleep, until at length I found myself sur 
rounded by sleepers ; so followed their example. 

At daybreak we were awakened by our guards, who seemed 
strangely excited, though they refused to explain what was the 
matter. While we were wondering at their queer conduct, 
the sound of distant cannonading could be heard. 

" They re fighting," whispered some one near me. "I won 
der if they are going to take us away." 

What the orders were, we never ascertained, for beyond call 
ing the roll our guards left us undisturbed until breakfast-time ; 
the cannonading growing in volume and vigor as the day ad 
vanced. Clustering near the narrow windows, we listened to 
the booming of the guns in feverish impatience. At length 
the sounds of the battle died away ; and we learned from the 
sentry that the engagement had occurred at a place called Five 
Forks, afterwards to be historical as the scene of the last 
pitched battle of the war. 

The next two clays passed without incident, for we heard 
no cannonading. At midnight of the third day, however, we 
were startled from our slumbers by a tremendous outburst of 



SMASHING THE TRAP. 439 

artillery, the concussions of which fairly shook the floor under 
our feet. 

" It s a general bombardment along the lines, you may depend 
upon it," said Major Rathbone, 

We could see nothing from our windows, except the reflec 
tion of the light from the guns in action. Yet we lingered, 
content to watch even this imperfect evidence of a determined 
effort to capture the beleaguered city. As the first faint streaks 
of daylight appeared, fierce volleys of musketry could be dis 
tinguished amidst the thunder of contending cannon, sounds 
which told us that an assault was being made. Now the noise 
of the conflict grew louder and louder until it seemed that 
even the streets of the city were invaded. 

" I say, gentlemen, do you know it s Sunday ? " remarked 
some one at the window next mine. 

" So it is, Woodbury," replied Major Rathbone. " Halloa ! 
what s this ? " he exclaimed the next instant in an eager voice. 
" Yes, it s an infantry-column, and going like the very devil." 

A glance into the street showed us that the major was right ; 
for the narrow pavement was full of men, who were moving as 
fast as their legs could carry them. What the movement was, 
we could not imagine, unless it was reinforcements going to 
some threatened point. 

All day long we stood and listened to the awful music of 
artillery, intensified and strengthened in its monotone by fre 
quent volleys of well-sustained musketry. It seemed to me 
terrible to be shut up like rats in a trap, while our comrades 
were so bravely fighting. When night came, some one remem 
bered that we had been given no dinner, a fact we had entirely 
forgotten in the fierce excitement experienced while listening 
to the bombardment. Though it was now the hour for supper, 
our guards neglected to bring that also. What could it mean ? 

" It s my opinion they re going to evacuate the city," said 
Major Rathbone, " and have something else to think of besides 
feeding us." 



440 BULLET ASD SHELL. 

Whatever the cause, we received no food ; nor could we get 
any response from the sentry at the door of our loft, beyond 
the pointing of his bayonet at any one who questioned him. 
Hungry, yet elated by hope, we were unable to sleep, so chatted 
in groups by the windows. A painful silence had by this 
time succeeded the cannonading and musketry, but we were 
certain it would be renewed at dawn. About three o clock in 
the morning, a young lieutenant discovered that the sentry was 
no longer at the door. 

v-.- ady, gentlemen," cried Major Rathbone, as a rush was 
made for the landing. % * Let us go cautiously to work." 

" But the guards have been withdrawn," exclaimed Captain 
\V xlbury. 

All the more reason for caution, replied Major Rathbone. 
If the guards are gone, there s no harm in reconnoitering. 
But let us do it regularly. Major Wilmot, you and Woodbury 
will please explore the passage-way. Meanwhile, the rest of 
the gentlemen must remain quiet." 

Captain Woodbury and I moved cautiously to the door, and 
found it unfastened. Pushing it open, we listened a moment 
or two, but there were no sounds. 

Have you a match, major ? " whispered Woodbury in my 
ear. 

liout replying, I opened my match-safe, and struck a 
light. Holding it over my head, I could see nobody. 

ki By Jove ! they are gone ! " exclaimed my companion, as the 
flame of the match expired and left us in darknt 

-It seems like it," I replied. % -Let us go a little farther 
before we report." 

Creeping down the stairs, we soon reached the lower landing, 
and, by the aid of another match, ascertained that no guard i 
on duty. 

Do you go back, Woodbury," said I, "and tell Major Rath- 
bone we think the coast is clear. I will wait here until you 
return." 



SMASHING THE TRAP. 441 

The captain ascended the stairs, and left me alone in the 
darkness. Excited as I was by the novelty of the situation, 
I felt strangely stirred at my position ; and my heart throbbed 
tumultnously, for there was no knowing what danger we might 
encounter. 

In a few minutes Woodbury returned, followed by Major 
Rathbone and the rest. Whispering for them to move quietly, 
I led the way down the last flight of stairs. On reaching the 
street-door, we again found no sentry ; but the door was locked. 
Here was a dilemma ! 

" By the by," said Captain Woodbury, " the day they brought 
us here, I noticed a door in the side wall. Have you any more 
matches, Wilmot ? " 

Striking a light, we saw that the captain s memory was not 
at fault. There was another door, and it proved to be unfastened. 

"Hold on a bit !" exclaimed the lieutenant who had first 
discovered the absence of the sentries. " I ve a piece of candle 
in my pocket. Let us explore with it." 

Pushing the door open, and following our leader, we soon 
came to the end of a passage, and in another moment were in 
the open air. 

" Isn t this funny ! " cried Woodbury. " Where can our guards 
have gone to?" 

" Followed the army evidently," replied Major Rathbone. 
" But come, let us push on." 

The major led us across a sort of court-yard, but his progress 
was soon checked by a high wall : we had simply gained access 
to the warehouse-yard, not the street. 

" Well, what are we to do now ? " said Captain Woodbury 
impatiently. 

" Why, return to the passage, of course," replied the major. 
" Look around, and see if any of you can find something a 
bit of iron to break the lock on the front door." 

" Here s something heavy I ve stumbled over," said one of 
the other officers. 



442 VULLET AND SHELL. 

"The very thing," said Major Rathbone, examining the 
object with his candle. " It s one of those bars formerly used 
in the tobacco-presses. Come, Woodbury, you take the lead 
now, and batter off the lock for us." 

We all hurried after our new standard-bearer, who, on reach 
ing the door, succeeded, by a few well-directed blows with his 
crowbar, in forcing the cumbrous lock from its fastenings. As 
the heavy door swung open, we poured eagerly into the street 
like a parcel of schoolboys. We were free ! 

It had now grown quite light, yet the city seemed deserted 
and silent. Remembering the route I had come, I led the way 
to the open square, which .was also entirely empty. While we 
stood there, wondering what was best to be. done, Major Rath- 
bone caught sight of an advancing column of troops approach 
ing. A second glance showed them to be Federals. 

" Why, how did you get in ? " demanded the officer in com 
mand. " I thought we were the first to enter the place." 

" We didn t get in," replied Captain Woodbury in a whim 
sical way : " we ve only just got out." 

" I don t understand," said the picket-officer, evidently mys 
tified. " What do you mean by that ? " 

" He means that we were prisoners," replied the major, " and 
have only just discovered that we were unguarded." 

" Prisoners, eh ? Well, I congratulate you. You had better 
remain with me until our corps comes in. I expect General 
Parke will soon be here." 

" When did you discover the enemy had evacuated ? " I 
asked. 

k At daybreak. A darky came in and told us: so I sent 
word to the rear, and marched in." 

Here a few citizens made their appearance at the corner of 
the square. They seemed in doubt, and conversed among them 
selves. The picket-officer beckoned to them, a summons they 
obeyed with evident reluctance. 

" You have nothing to fear, gentlemen," said the lieutenant- 



SMASHING THE TRAP. 443 

colonel. " The city having fallen into our hands, the inhabit 
ants will be protected by us." 

" Has General Lee and his army gone clar away ? " asked one 
of the men incredulously. 

"It looks like it. Don t you see we are in possession?" 

As the colonel spoke, we heard the sound of horses hoofs on 
the stone pavement ; and, a moment after, General Parke and 
his staff rode up, closely followed by several infantry regiments, 
coming along at a swinging trot. 

Major Rathbone approached the general, and explained our 
presence, at the same time introducing me as belonging to the 
Fifth Corps. 

" Indeed ! " replied the general. " I m just sending an escort 
with my dispatches to General Meade. If you would like to 
join your command, I ll give you a horse." 

" Thank you, general," said I. " I would like to reach my 
regiment very much. I may be in time for another brush." 

" Well, I can not promise you that," said the general, smiling. 
"I guess the fighting is pretty well over by this time." 

Learning that we were all very hungry, General Parke gave 
orders that we be properly cared for ; then rode away to make 
proper disposition of his troops. An hour after, I was in the 
saddle, riding towards the main body of the army, which was 
now racing after Lee and his men. Before we entered the belt 
of woods where I had been captured, deafening explosions 
occurred on the river ; and a black cloud of smoke in the sky 
told me that the city of Richmond was in flames. 



444 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



CHAPTER XL. 



LAYING DOWN THE SWORD. 

" Peace, thy olive wand extend, 
And bid wild War his ravage end." 

HE position of the Army of Northern Virginia 
had now become an exceedingly critical one. 
Compelled by Grant s tremendous swoop on 
his line of communications to abandon both 
Richmond and Petersburg, Lee gathered his 
forces for a leap, which, if successful, would 
enable him to join Johnston, and give battle 
with more equal numbers. But the brave 
army proved unequal to the effort, yet strug 
gled hopelessly on, until, being brought to bay 
at last, it surrendered with honor. 

When I rode out from our old lines with 
the dispatch-escort, the Sixth Corps was on the march endeav 
oring to overtake the advance columns, whose artillery gave 
evidence of the severity and persistence of the pursuit. Ord 
was farther ahead, having had nearly a day s start over Wright. 
All day long we could hear heavy cannonading, with now and 
then a brisk roll of musketry. Every road was occupied by 
the troops and trains, haste being evidently the order of the 
day. So crammed were the roads, that our party, at times, 
found it difficult to push forward ; and for hours we struggled 
past long lines of wagons and ambulances, or cantered by the 
side of the infantry. The men were, of course, greatly elated 
by the sudden change of affairs in the field, and trudged 




LAYING DOWN THE SWORD. 



445 



merrily over the dusty roads, singing camp-songs, and cheering 
on the slightest occasion. They seemed to appreciate the fact 
that the end was near, and forgot fatigue in their eagerness to 
witness the closing scenes. 

By nightfall we had reached the vicinity of Burke s Station, 
finding it to be the temporary center of our operations. As is 
always the case where large bodies of troops are massed, the 
scene was a busy and confused one. Thousands of little fires 
were scattered over the plain, and dark patches showed where 




CAVALRY IN PURSUIT. 



whole divisions were moving into bivouac. All the familiar 
sounds were afloat in the air : hoarse commands were uttered 
by mounted officers ; teamsters yelled and cursed at their ex 
hausted animals ; cattle bellowed mournfully, as if they knew 
they were going to slaughter; artiller}^ rumbled along the 
road ; timber fell with crashing sound before the blows of the 
ax-men ; and the pickets kept up an incessant racket on 
the outposts. Now a glitter of steel would flash across my eyes, 
as the bayonets of some moving brigade glanced in the reflec- 



446 BULLET AND SHELL. 

tions of the blazing fires ; and I caught glimpses of fluttering 
colors as they waved like shadows in the uncertain light. 

Amid this confusion I found it impossible to gain definite 
intelligence of my corps. Some had seen it march into yonder 
woods , others knew that Warren s men were encamped just 
beyond the station. Disappointed at every turn, I was blindly 
riding past the railroad-platform, when a man suddenly rose 
from the ground under my horse s feet. 

"An where the divil be ye a-goin"?" he exclaimed. "Why 
don t ye put specs on yer horse s nose to kape him from tramp- 
lin honest men to death ? " 

" Is that you, Dennis ? " said I, for the voice sounded famil 
iar. 

" Yis, that s one of me names," he replied ; " though how the 
divil ye guessed it bothers me." 

" Don t you know me, Malone ? or have you lost your own 
eyesight ? " 

" It s the major, be all that s holy ! An where hev ye bin, 
Frank, all this while ? Troth, ye tuk yer own time in gittin 
back." 

" I was captured while coming up, and only escaped when 
Petersburg and Richmond were abandoned," said I. 

" Taken prisoner an escaped ! " exclaimed Dennis. " Did ye 
say Richmond is vacuated ? " 

" Yes. But where s the regiment? " 

" I dunno. They detailed me here for guard-dooty furninst 
the station, and then marched off in a jiffy. Arrah, Frank, me 
darlin ! but I m glad to see ye wanst more, safe and sound, 
like a new-made whishky-barrel wid both heads in." 

" Well, Dennis, as I can not find the regiment, I ll stop here 
with you. Can you give me any thing to eat ? " 

" Troth, an I can. There s a shank of a ham, plinty of 
coffee, and a sup of whishky. Sit down, me boy, and make 
yerself comfortable." 

While eating my supper, I gave Dennis an account of my 



LAYING DOWN THE SWORD. 447 

adventures ; the recital greatly interesting him. In return, he 
told me that my brother officers had heard I had been killed, 
and predicted that my arrival would be the source of rejoicing 
in the regiment. During the battle of Five Forks the com 
mand had not suffered greatly; though one of our officers, 
Captain Seymour, had been fatally wounded by a round shot, 
death ensuing soon after his reaching the surgeon. 

Dennis and I chatted for over an hour ; when, feeling the 
need of sleep after my long ride, I wrapped myself in a blan 
ket, and did not awake until the bugles and drums began their 
noisy reveille. Seeing the corps-flag flying up the road, I 
mounted my horse, and was soon among my comrades, enjoying 
their hearty welcome very much. 

During the next five days we made long and rapid marches, 
diversified at times by sudden halts and sharp skirmishes. We 
knew that General Ord was now following the cavalry in its 
endeavor to cut off Lee s advance on the Lynchburg Railroad. 
If Sheridan was successful in this, the Confederates would be 
caught on both flanks. 

On the afternoon of the fifth day our corps entered the vil 
lage of Appomattox, finding- the Confederates in line-of-battle 
on the slopes beyond the picturesque little town. Though we 
also formed in regular order, our general made no aggressive 
movement, despite the fact that considerable cannonading was 
in progress towards the left. 

" An why don t we make a dive at em, and settle the busi 
ness at wanst?" exclaimed Lieutenant Malone, as he stood 
leaning against my horse s shoulder. 

" Do be patient, Dennis," I replied. " We will get the word 
when the proper time comes." 

As I spoke, a confused murmur ran along the ranks, and the 
men on our right seemed strangely agitated. 

" What s up now ? " cried Dennis. 

" A truce ! a truce ! " shouted a hundred voices. 

Shading my eyes from the rays of the sun, I saw two or 



448 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



three small white flags waving in front of the Confederate 
line. As I looked, a horseman galloped across the hollow from 
our side, carrying a handkerchief on a ramrod. 

It was quite true : the Confederates had called for a parley. 

"Begorra! an that s the purtiest thing I ve seen since we 
marched down Broadway in 61, biddin good-by to the 
gurls ! " exclaimed Dennis. 




THE FLAG OF TRUCE. 



" Well, Wilmot," said Colonel Harding, coming towards me, 
"this ends our campaigning: General Lee has signified his 
acceptance of General Grant s terms, and will surrender." 

Cheers now ran along the lines like waves beating on the 
seashore. The army was intoxicated with joy. 

" This ends the war," said the colonel musingly, as he lis 
tened to the cheers. 

" You forget that Johnston is still in the field," said I. 

" He will be compelled to follow Lee s example, now that 
two armies face him." 

" True : I had forgotten that." 

At that moment Osborne the correspondent rode up. 

" Well, gentlemen," said he, "I ve come to say good-by." 



LAYING DOWN THE SWOED. 449 

" Why, where are you going ? " I exclaimed, noticing that he 
had his blankets strapped to his saddle. " You seem in regular 
marching order." 

" I have need to be, for I must reach City Point in time for 
the steamer to-morrow." 

" City Point ! " said Colonel Harding in surprise. " Why, 
man, it s fully ninety miles from here. You ll never do it on 
one horse." 

" Never you fear, colonel," replied Osborne with a smile on 
his lips : " I looked out for that long ago. I ve got a horse at 
Burke Station, and General Parke has another at his head 
quarters for me." 

" You will have to ride all night," said I. 

" Of course. It isn t the first time, you know. But I must 
not stay any longer. Good-by : I shall probably not see this 
army again." 

" Wiry not ? " said Colonel Harding. " Surely your useful 
ness is not over." 

" Oh ! somebody will look after you for us," replied Osborne. 
" I am going to Mexico." 

" Mexico ! " I exclaimed. 

" Yes, Mexico. It was all arranged when last I was in the 
office." 

"I see," said Colonel Harding. "This war being in reality 
at an end, you are looking for more exciting scenes for your 
note-book ? " 

" Exactly," replied the correspondent. " Now that Lee has 
capitulated, I can easily be spared. While the steamer is 
plowing her way to Washington, I shall write the story of 
this surrender, and, after seeing it put on a wire, start for New 
York. Within twenty-four hours after my arrival I shall be on 
my way to the Rio Grande." 

" What will you do there ? " asked the colonel. 

u Make the best way I can to Juarez army, to be sure, and 
watch the course of events." 



450 BULLET AND SHELL. 

" Upon my word, Osborne, yours is an exciting sort of life," 
said I. 

" You are right. There is nothing like it. Despite the dan 
ger and hardship attending the life of a war-correspondent, 
there is a fascination about it I can not resist. But, really, 
Wilmot, I must be off. Time is precious with such a ride as I 
have before me. Good-by, old fellow. Good-by, colonel." 

He waved his hand, put spurs to his steed; and then the 
brave, good-hearted fellow was gone. 

When evening came, the entire country seemed to be in a 
blaze, for our army was enjoying its old-time luxury of huge 
fires. On the other side of the little valley, where the Confed 
erate army lay shattered and despairing, but little light was to 
be seen. As I lay before the blazing logs, in company with 
Colonel Harding and Dennis, my thoughts again reverted to 
Tom Marshall ; and I wondered if he were still alive. 

The fact that the enemy had given up the struggle natur 
ally relaxed the severity of campaign-duty. The picket-line was 
a mere formality, and the night air was not disturbed by mus 
ketry ; the unwonted silence being all the more remarkable for 
its novelty. Neither the colonel nor Dennis spoke ; and we 
were silently gazing into the fire when young Jenkins rode 
into the circle of light, and dismounted. 

"Well, colonel," said he, "the campaign is over. Lee has 
surrendered unconditionally." 

" Are those the terms ? " asked Colonel Harding. 

" Not exactly. General Fletcher says that when Grant and 
Lee met. terms were not discussed. But it is understood that 
the rebels are to lay down their arms, and accept a parole. In 
a few days the Army of Northern Virginia will be dispersed 
for ever." 

" It will live in history," said I. 

" Indeed it will," said Colonel Harding. " No army deserves 
it more." 

" Begorra ! it s quare to think we are to hev no more scrim- 



LAYING DOWN THE SWORD. 451 

mages," exclaimed Dennis. " What will we all do, now that 
foightin is over ? " 

"Do? Why, go back to citizen-life, to be sure," said the 
colonel. 

" Aisy to say that, colonel dear. But it ll be hard for some 
of us." 

" At first, perhaps." 

" For my part," said Jenkins, " I shall try and get into the 
Regulars. Of course we shall need an army." 

" For a time, no doubt," responded the colonel ; " though I 
think it will be but a small one. There is no necessity for a 
large force." 

" Well, I am glad the war is over," said I, " though it seems 
odd that our swords will no more be drawn in battle." 

"When is the formal surrender to take place, Jenkins?" 
asked Colonel Harding. 

" The day after to-morrow. We must first supply the Con 
federates with food. I hear they are positively starving." 

" Faix, an ye moight hev known that," said Dennis. " Thim 
divils wud niver hev given up else." 

" You are right, Dennis," said the colonel. " So much the 
more glorious for us." 

" Well, good-night, gentlemen," said Jenkins as he remounted 
and rode away. 

Early the next morning I rode across the line in search of 
Tom. Scarcely had I crossed the creek when I saw proofs of 
the destitution of Lee s troops. In an orchard, near the road 
side, stood a park of artillery. Nearly all of the horses seemed 
to be dying of hunger and fatigue. All along the road similar 
sad scenes were presented, and I soon realized the sore straits 
to which the Southern army had been reduced before it had 
consented to abandon the struggle. Brave to the last, these 
Confederate soldiers had reason to be proud of their record, 
and the fame history would accord them. 

After riding for nearly a mile, I halted and looked about me. 



452 



BULLET AND SHELL. 



" Where s the Third Virginia ? " said I to a man lying 
moodily on the tender grass by the roadside. 

" Right here," he replied without moving ; " that is, what s 
left of em." 

" Have you an officer named Marshall ? " 

" Yes, he s our colonel. There he is, sitting under that tree," 
said the man, getting up and pointing across the road. 

I turned my horse, and approached my friend. 










LEE S SHATTERED ARMY. 

" Tom, don t you know me ? " 

" Frank ! " 

We clasped hands in silence ; then Tom burst into tears. 

" This is a sad meeting, Frank," said he in a broken voice. 

" I feel it so," I replied ; " though I am one of the victors, 
and should be rejoiced." 

" Oh ! it s all right. We were bound to be beaten in the 
end, though the reality is hard to bear." 

" Well, Tom, you have the consolation of knowing that 
the South deserved to win, for the bravery shown by her 
sons." 



LAYING DOWN THE SWORD. 453 

" Your words are generous, Frank ; but I am sick of war and 
all its horrors." 

" So am I. Let us pray that peace may now rest upon the 
land for ever." 

" I echo your prayer, Frank, with all my heart," said Tom 
thoughtfully. 

" Yes," I exclaimed, " in future, let there be no North, no 
South ; only one common country, one kindred." 

"That s it," said Tom reverently, u one country, one flag. 
And let our swords hang on the wall until a foreign foe com 
pels us to take them down together." 

" Amen ! " 



AT THE HOMESTEAD, 
JULY 20, 1872. 

MY DEAR HUSBAND, Baby is asleep in her crib, and Frankie is 
swinging in the hammock with Grandpa under the walnuts : so I find 
time to write. I am sitting by the window where you rushed in that 
dreadful night that Charlton had me in his power, and I can see the 
valley spread out before me. (By the way, Tom heard the other day 
Charlton had been killed in a brawl somewhere in Texas.) You don t 
know how much the dear old Shenandoah has improved during the 
years we have been away. The great gaps made in the fences by 
the artillery are now covered by the vines, while those horrid earth 
works down by the river are green and picturesque in their present 
ruined state. The fields are golden with ripening wheat, the river 
murmurs as softly as ever, the mountains bask in the sunshine ; and 
I almost forget that there ever was a war in this fair land. 

Tom is getting along splendidly with the plantation, though he 
finds some difficulty in getting hands for the reaping ; but Pomp is 
his right-hand man now, and, as he has a share in the crop this year, 
he works hard. I know you will laugh when you see Pomp, he is so 



454 BULLET AND SHELL. 

awfully wise and dignified, and talks of k dem boys," as though he 
had never been an idle scamp himself. Both Tom and Grandpa want 
you to come soon, and Frankie says you may have his hammock : so 
come, dear, as soon as you can ; for, though I am glad to be once 
more in the valley where I was born, I miss you so ! Ah, Frank 
dear ! people may still talk about the North and South as much as 
they please ; but, for me, I love my husband best of all, before all. 
Write soon, there s a dear, and let us know when you are coming ; 
and bring Mr. Malone with you too. With kisses from Frankie, 
baby, and me, 

Your loving wife, 

KATE. 



THE END. 






THIS BOOK IS DUE ON THE LAST DATE 
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--: 




CPHTICAL OPINIONS. 



BULLET AND SHELL 



" Histories of the war by generals and 
civilians are numberless, but the story of 
the struggle from the stand-point of the 
private soldier is only just beginning to 
find its way into print, and the rifle has at 
last succeeded in being recognized as hav 
ing been an equally potent factor with the 
sword. It is a pleasure to be able to 
heartily endorse Bullet and Shell. " 
Chicago Tribune. 

" The story of an important part of our 
great and awful civil war has never been 
told so graphically as it is in the handsome 
volume entitled Bullet and Shell. . . . 
His book is a succession of vivid pictures, 
tragic as well as comic. Not like grave 
histories, it is as good or better as rep 
resenting the actual facts of real war; 
and it is especially recommended to 
young people, for its faithful story, and 
for the pure, chivalrous, generous tone 
towards Southerners and Northerners 
alike that pervades it from beginning to 
end." Phila. Evening Bulletin. 

" MR. WILLIAMS book is given a living 
interest by introducing the narrator first 
as visiting a young college friend at his 
home in the Virginia valley during the 
year preceding the breaking out of hos 
tilities. This friend espouses, of course, 
the Southern cause; and two or three 
times in the course of the four years 
struggle the friends come in contact, 
and in such a way as to illustrate quite 
felicitously the undertones of friendly per 
sonal feeling running below the troubled 
surface of warfare. The narrative is 
further warmed and brightened by the in 
troduction of a light-hearted Irish soldier, 
who entertains for the narrator the most 
devoted and loyal friendship from first to 
last, illustrating another curious but by 
no means uncommon feature of soldier 
life. . . . Many passages illustrating the 
writer s descriptive power might be quoted, 
and the frequent ciose personal glimpses 
it gives of men whose renown has passed 
into history." Chicago Times. 

" The man of the ranks, who was the 
noblest patriot of all, will find in these 
interesting pages that which will not only 
defend and honor, but will entertain and 
instruct." Boston Globe. 



One can safely predict that it will be 
the most widely circulated work on the Civil 
War that has been ptiblished. For the 
younger generation, who have grown to 
manhood since the great rebellion, or who 
are now coming up into interest about 
their country s history, those to whom 
stories of the war seem far off and unreal, 
this work of pen and pencil presents 
in brilliant lights and deep shadows a 
photograph of actual army life. We take 
pleasure in unreservedly commending 
Bullet and Shell to the soldier, feeling 
confident that it is a publication the best 
suited to his wishes and wants that he 
can secure at the present time." Boston 
Globe. 

" Much of the narrative is in the form 
of dialogue, and enlivened by the anec 
dotes and incidents which make up so 
large a part of army life and so small a 
part of ordinary army histories. Though a 
large volume, it has more pith than pad 
ding, and to old soldiers especially it will 
prove most entertaining." Detroit News. 

" His story reads like a trumpet-toned 
echo from the bloody field, recalling to 
the veteran soldier the first flush of war, 
the gathering ranks, the martial sounds, 
the early march, the camp, the bivouac, / 
the picket line, the battle, the retreat, the jp t 
friends who shared the perils of hardship* 
and fatigue, and the well-remembered 
lights and shadows of a soldier s life. 
. . . From personal experience of many 
scenes described, we can truthfully vouch 
for the accuracy of the vivid pictures, 
and the truth of his most admirable 
delineations. He has produced the 
soldier s story par excellence not the 
general s account of strategic movements, 
engineering feats, and wonderful victories, 
but the story as it might have been told 
by hundreds of thousands if nature had 
blessed them with the ready pen of Mr. 
WILLIAMS. . . . We know of no more 
stirring and soul-inspiring book. It is a ( 
story to delight the old soldier s heart. 
He can take it up and read it to his 
boys, and as the flood of memory rushes 
on his brain, and a spark of the old fire 
kindles in his blood, he can say as he 
finishes some vivid passage that recalls 



CRITICAL OPINIONS OF "BULLET AND SHELL." 






the past, Boys, I was there! He served 
under Little Mac. Pope, Burnside, 
Hooker, Meade, and Grant. He took 
part in many of the battles around Rich 
mond, was wounded, taken prisoner, and 
promoted through the different grades 
from private to major. His book is full 
of adventure. . . . His descriptive pow 
ers are excellent, and the charming little 
romance which he weaves into his tale of 
war merely shows that he is a true artist 
as well as a soldier." A 7 . Y. Commercial 
Advertiser. 

,"The narrative is given largely in 
dramatic form, abounding in anecdote, 
and principally made up of the actual 
scenes of a soldier s life as they are pre 
sented in the experience of the service. 
One gets a complete realization in it of 
the dangers, the toils, and the privations 
of war, and of the excitements of the 
combats in their various stages." Boston 
Gazette. 

"In the Herald office, MR. WILLIAMS 
has always been friendly to the Irish mem 
bers of the staff, and, as his Cymric name 
indicates, is a Celt by nature. Hence the 
good terms on which he stood with the 
Irish in the field and the gusto with 
which he records their exploits." The 
Irish Nation. 

"He has happily caught the free-and- 
easy dash and swing of life in the ranks, 
and rattles on so easily and with such 
realistic touches that the reader is almost 
persuaded he is recalling actual experi- 
/ences which, no doubt, he is in many 
r ses. " Philadelphia Inquirer. 



"MR. WILLIAMS army experience be 
gan in the ranks, from which he worked 
his way up. At one time he acted as war 
correspondent of a New York daily paper, 
and his letters were distinguished by a 
picturesque style as well as the freshness 
of their news. The incidents that makeup 
this volume have the same freshness. 
They read as though they had been writ 
ten on a drum-head, on the field of battle." 
The Critic, N. Y. 

" His sub-title, War as the Soldier Saw 
it, best describes the book. . . . The reader 
is given the soldier s opinion of Little Mac, 
of stern-faced Hooker, gray old Meade, 
irascible Warren, and the hero of Vicks- 
burg and Fort Donelson. On this account 
MR. WILLIAMS book will have a certain 
value to future historians of the great Civil 
War. The armies of the Confederacy have 
as much praise as the Northern hosts; 
the soldier s lack of partisanship is well 
illustrated." New York Times. 

" The whole makes a book of really ab 
sorbing interest. . . It is a great addition 
to the literature of the war. No South 
erner can find fault with the spirit of the 
book, which is fraternal and kind. The 
illustrations are far above the average, 
and add greatly to the value of the work." 
Philadelphia Press. 

" As a writer he is direct, clear, forcible, 
and fluent, and there is hardly a trace of 
partisanship in his treatment of the Con 
federate armies, the latter being highly 
praised. The book happily combines 
what may be termed the romance and 
reality of war." Chicago Evening Journal. 



THE ETCHINGS. 



" Its interest is enhanced, too. by a large 
number of vivid and lifelike etchings made 
by the artist EDWIN FORBES, who was 
himself a pictorial war correspondent dur 
ing the struggle, and who sketches from 
memory and material in his possession, 
and not from fancy." Chicago Times. 

" Mr. FORBES is particularly clever in 
pictures of soldier life." New York 
Times. 

"The illustrations are an important 
aid to the reader, and add essentially to 
the effect of the narrative." Boston Ga 
zette. 



" Remarkably effective illustrations en 
graved from sketches by EDWIN FORBES, 
who was also with the army, and whose 
work has won him distinction at home 
as well as abroad." Phila.Eve g Bulletin. 

" Profusely illustrated with engravings 
from sketches by EDWIN FORBES, who 
drew them from actual scenes, and they 
add greatly to the interest of the book." 
Philadelphia Inquirer. 

" Profusely illustrated with etchings by 
EDWIN FORBES, a pictorial war correspon 
dent and member of the French Etching 
Club." Chicago Evening Journal. 



IN STACKS 

APR 1,6 1960 



LD9-207n-7, 59(A3982s4)4185 




THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LIBRARY